PH tops list of deadliest countries for green crusaders in Asia, third in the world
MANILA- While consistently named the deadliest Asian country for environmentalists, the Philippines does not condone the killing of environment advocates, Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said Saturday.
"We do not condone such violence and intimidation," Abella said in a statement.
In its latest Defenders of the Earth report, international anti-corruption and environmental protection group Global Witness placed the Philippines on the top spot of the deadliest countries for environmentalists in Asia, with 28 deaths in 2016.
The country meanwhile placed third in the world, following Brazil with 49 deaths, and Colombia with 37.
"Most murders were linked to mining, coal and extractive industries, whilst half of those killed were indigenous people," the report read.
Abella said the government has formed an inter-agency task force that would ensure that "indigenous peoples are not subjected to undue pressure and influence from unscrupulous businessmen intending to extract natural resources from their ancestral lands."
Among prominent cases of an environmentalist's murder in recent years is that of anti-mining advocate Gerry Ortega, who was gunned down in Puerto Princesa City in January 2011.
Provincial officials were implicated in his slay.
Ortega served as ABS-CBN Foundation's program director for Philippine Ecotourism Palawan.