IN DEFENSE OF MT. MAKILING: A Call for Justice to Jojo Malinao, A Call for People’s Action

The KALIKASAN Environmental Action Movement – Southern Tagalog strongly condemns and joins the whole Los Baños community in grief and rage for the brutal murder of Elpidio “Jojo” Malinao, a UPLB employee who works as forest guard at the Mt. Makiling Forest Reserve by a motorcycle-riding killer in Bay, Laguna last May 9, Monday. He was 49.

News reports indicated that Malinao was killed shortly after attending a court hearing where he served as witness on a case against violators inside the protected mountain.

This sudden loss of life of a co-worker and colleague in the defense of environment necessitates great condemnation and vigilance in pursuit for justice. Ironically, this happened on the celebration of 2011 as International Year of the Forest. This is another proof to the prevailing culture of impunity that exists in the whole country.

The killings of environmental defenders and activists alike are no isolated cases. Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE) has documented some 40 cases of extrajudicial killings and hundreds of threats and harassments against environmental defenders and advocates since 2001, and the same pattern seemed to prevail under the current government where at least 6 defenders were killed so far. In other regions, environmental and anti-mining activists were subjected to constant harassments, ranging from death threats and assault by military and police operatives in connivance with private mercenaries of mining and other foreign companies.

Across the country, environmental plunder and exploitation persist under the framework of development agenda and economic pursuit of the Aquino administration. Indeed, the current regime is no different from its predecessor being the broker to foreign and private corporations that ravage our forests, minerals and energy resources. Kalikasan PNE reported that there are 28 large-scale mining operations in the country and 676 approved mining applications. Of the more than 1 thousand pending mining applications, 247 have been favorably endorsed by the DENR. Large-scale logging companies still operate across the country. Meanwhile, climate activists also expressed their disappointment on the building of more coal-fired power plants in the country.

Jojo’s fate also came shortly after the ruthless killing in line of duty of Dr. Leonardo Co, another UP employee and foremost botanist at UP Diliman’s Institute of Biology while protecting the environment. The Commission on Human Rights reported that members of the Philippine Army were responsible for the indiscriminate firing at the team of Dr. Co, which led to his death and another forest guard, while injuring two other guides.

Indeed, this unfortunate and motivated killing is a wake up call for the whole Southern Tagalog and Los Baños communities, especially UPLB students and faculty to take concrete actions in the defense not only of Mt. Makiling but also of the national patrimony.

JUSTICE TO ELPIDIO ‘JOJO’ MALINAO!

JUSTICE TO ALL ENVIRONMENTAL WORKERS AND ACTIVISTS!

STOP FOREIGN MINING, JUNK MINING ACT OF 1995!

STOP FOREIGN CAPITALIST PLUNDER OF OUR RESOURCES!

DEFEND NATIONAL PATRIMONY!

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