De Lima denounces recent murder of environmental worker

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Senator Leila M. de Lima has strongly condemned the killing of an employee of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Surigao del Sur province last Nov. 21 whose death adds to the snowballing list of environmental workers murdered under the present administration.

De Lima maintained that the increasing number of unresolved deaths in the country involving environmental workers should be regarded as a serious concern that should prompt the government to stop promoting the culture of violence in the country.

Mariin kong kinokondena ang panibagong pagpaslang sa isa na namang environmental worker. Malinaw itong patunay na sa panahong ito ng rehimeng Duterte, lalong lumakas ang loob ng mga mamamatay-tao at lumalala ang kawalang hustisya sa ating bansa,” she said.

Pinapaslang ang mahihirap at mga batang walang kalaban-laban. Pinapatay ang mga abogado, pari, at tagapagtanggol ng karapatang pantao. Pati ang mga kawani ng gobyernong nangangalaga sa ating kalikasan ay hindi rin pinalampas,” she added.

Joash Peregrino, a special investigator at the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office in Surigao del Sur, was reportedly gunned down by still unidentified assailants near the DENR office in Bislig City.

Peregrino, who was also active in the apprehension and retrieval of abandoned and illegally-cut trees inside government timber lands, is the fourth state environmental worker murdered in line of duty in a span of two months.

Other environmental workers who were also murdered include Forest Rangers Bienvenido Veguilla Jr who was killed when he and his team came across illegal logging activities while patrolling in Palawan last Sept. 4, and Ronaldo Corpuz who was shot dead by unidentified gunmen outside his house last Oct. 25.

The lady Senator from Bicol pointed out that the killing of Peregrino and other environmental workers under the present administration warrants a serious investigation by the authorities to ensure that justice will be served to the victims.

“The government is duty-bound to finally put an end to the bloodbath in country, which victimizes, among others, environmental defenders who devoted their lives in protecting Mother Nature,” she said.

In its report this year, the international group Global Witness ranked the Philippines as the deadliest country for land and environmental defenders in 2018. The said report prompted De Lima to press UN experts to probe the unprecedented killings of land and environmental activists in the Philippines last August. (30)

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