Stop the Attacks, Defend Environmental Defenders!

May 8, 2024

The Center for Environmental Concerns – Philippines Inc., together with fellow environmental advocates strongly urgently demands that the issuance of Habeas Data and Writ of Amparo be granted to them and not delayed any further. 

Jhed Tamano and Jonila Castro were conducting research on reclamation in the coastal communities in Bataan before their abduction last September 2023. After almost two weeks of being disappeared, they confirmed that the people behind their abduction were state security forces. 

Scientists eagerly warned government agencies on the impacts of reclamation, the process of dumping filling materials in coasts to extend land area, such as the clearing of mangroves, decline in fish catch, displacement and livelihood loss. Furthermore, reclamation makes coastal communities more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change such as stronger and more frequent typhoons and sea level rise.


President Marcos Jr. announced a suspension of reclamation projects last year but there was no official document to order this. We have seen that up to now, reclamation projects are still ongoing and are in the pipeline. Similarly, while Marcos Jr. admitted in the UN General Assembly that “climate change is the greatest threat affecting our nations and our peoples”, those working towards climate action like Jhed and Jonila still face various threats.

The Marcos Jr. administration has made nothing but empty rhetoric. The appalling silence of Marcos Jr. on violations of environmental rights and the rights of environmental defenders shows the administration’s real intention and reinforces the culture of impunity.

Granting the petition for the writ of Habeas Data and Amparo will help for the protection of Jhed and Jonila’s right to privacy, in life, liberty and security that has been violated on their enforced disappearance. 

It is high time that we, the citizens unite to amplify the voices of the environmental defenders for the protection of the environment and future generations. ###