The Center for Environmental Concerns – Philippines joins the Filipino citizenry in paying tribute to our national heroes.
Among the modern-day heroes are environmental defenders who tirelessly devote their work in protecting the vast land and seas, and the rich natural wonders of the nation from local and foreign plunder of large corporations. They have risked and some have sacrificed their lives during their call of duty.
Their work is also vital in this time of health crisis. Along with our health care workers, environmental defenders are doing their part in securing everyone’s health by pushing for healthy ecosystems, proper sanitation and waste disposal, and safeguarding our forests and seas on-the-ground.
Instead of being honored for their contributions and recognized for their heroic acts for the people, defenders are being tagged as terrorists or rebel sympathizers. Just weeks after the Anti-Terrorism Bill was put into law, environmental defenders were not spared from killings. Among the recent victims is land rights advocate Randall Enchanis whose death was brutal in the hands of state personnel.
Tributes and word of thanks will not be enough. We call on the government to hold accountability for the human rights violations experienced by our environmental heroes. What they deserve is a free avenue for expression and participation.
We encourage our fellow Filipinos to stand with environmental defenders, and together with our tributes and salutations, join them in their fight for our rights and the environment.