Logo: Solidarity South Pacific

Environmentalist Assassinated in the Philippines

In 2003 SSP activists visited imprisoned environmental official Raul Zapatos, jailed for killing (in self defence) a mayor involved in illegal logging who at the time was attacking him with a sub-machine gun. These are the kind of extreme situations faced by environmentalists in much of the world - even when simply enforcing conservation laws! Thankfully Raul is now free (see our prisoner section), but the situations he faced remain.

What follows are two reports from the first of October. The first is from Manila Indymedia and the second from a mainstream news source. SSP is yet to get further details from our contacts in Mindanao.

SSP (Brighton)

Earth Defender Slain in Cold Blood

by Jong Pairez (Manila Indymedia Volunteer)
Article on Manila Indymedia

Isabelo dela Pena a forest defender who is a key figure in derailing massive forest logging by big corporations in Southern Mindanao was shot dead by unidentified gunmen, a local newspaper said Wednesday.

According to reports, two unidentified motorcycle-riding men gunned down the forester while he was inside defenselessly in a car at Matina, Talomo district Davao del Sur. The slained forester is now one among hundreds of earth defenders in the country who are consequently been murdered by hired goons, only to allow big corporations in continuing the vicious business of forest exploitation.

Davao forest is one among the big forest reserve in the country that has a rich diversity of plants and species that supports the life system of all inhabitants including indigenous people. But the massive abuse of cutting down trees and mining by local and multi-national companies causes the deterioration of the forest, leading to landslides, flash floods, species extinction and disruption of the natural habitat.

DENR forester gunned down

Inquirer News Service

Two unidentified motorcycle-riding men gunned down an official of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Matina, Talomo district here, a police official said Wednesday. Isidro de la Peña, 57, forester of the DENR in Southern Mindanao, was shot dead on Tuesday while he was inside his car, said Chief Inspector Vicente Danao, commander of the Talomo police precinct. Danao said the victim strictly implemented environment laws, which had resulted in the confiscation of illegally cut logs. He said De la Peña had also impounded vehicles used to transport illegally cut forest products.