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Environmental defenders are not terrorists!

Environmental defenders working to protect the globally important corridors of nature and climate in the archipelagic nation of the Philippines have recently been among the targets of the deadly practice of ‘red-tagging.’

Red-tagging, defined by the Philippine Commission on Human Rights as, “an act of State actors, particularly law enforcement agencies, to publicly brand individuals, groups, or institutions as affiliated to communist or leftist terrorists,” has been known to lead to life-threatening human rights abuses against citizens challenging injustices and abuses perpetrated by the State.

The work of environmental defenders are crucial, now more than ever, as we have witnessed in the recent consecutive typhoon and flood disasters leading to Typhoon Ulysses (international name Vamco). Extreme rainfall met massive deforestation, land conversion, earth disturbance in watersheds across the Sierra Madre Mountain Range, causing more than US$ 862 million in damages affecting almost eight million Filipino people.

We, the undersigned environmental and climate activists from the Philippines and the international community, thus urge Filipino public authorities to undertake preventive interventions against the continued red-tagging and the possible escalation of reprisals against environmental defenders.

We urge legislators to declare red-tagging as a crime punishable by law for curtailing constitutionally-guaranteed free speech and other civil liberties.

Finally, we urge the Supreme Court to take action on the 37 pending legal actions filed by various groups and sectors to junk the authoritarian Anti-Terrorism Law.

Add your voice: #NoToRedTagging


Environmental defenders working to protect the globally important corridors of nature and climate in the archipelagic nation of the Philippines have recently been among the targets of the deadly practice of ‘red-tagging.’ Red-tagging, defined by the Philippine Commission on Human Rights as, “an act of State actors, particularly law enforcement agencies, to publicly brand individuals, groups, or institutions as affiliated to communist or leftist terrorists,” has been known to lead to life-threatening human rights abuses against citizens challenging injustices and abuses perpetrated by the State. In April 2018, land rights lawyer Benjamin Ramos found his name along with other activist leaders on a ‘hit list’ poster put up by the Philippine National Police accusing them of being personalities of the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing, the New People’s Army. Months later, he was shot dead by riding-in-tandem assassins. The pattern of Attorney Ben’s murder reflects the dangers that thousands of Filipino environmental defenders constantly face. Documentation by the Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE) revealed that every victim of extrajudicial killing under President Rodrigo Duterte is just the bloody tip of some 124 defenders who suffer red-tagging and criminalization, threats and intimidation, illegal arrests, harassment lawsuits, and forced displacement. Last December 1, 2020, Kalikasan PNE, a vocal watchdog on environmental defender killings, was itself red-tagged in a baseless presentation made by government intelligence officials during a Philippine Senate hearing. Worse, the Anti-Terrorism Act recently railroaded by President Duterte allows government to designate or proscribe anyone as terrorists with reckless abandon. In turn, they are enabled to undertake warrantless arrests, ‘witch hunt’ inspections, and freeze orders of assets of anyone they labelled as ‘terrorist.’ The work of environmental defenders are crucial, now more than ever, as we have witnessed in the recent consecutive typhoon and flood disasters leading to Typhoon Ulysses (international name Vamco). Extreme rainfall met massive deforestation, land conversion, earth disturbance in watersheds across the Sierra Madre Mountain Range, causing more than US$ 862 million in damages affecting almost eight million Filipino people. We, the undersigned environmental and climate activists from the Philippines and the international community, thus urge Filipino public authorities to undertake preventive interventions against the continued red-tagging and the possible escalation of reprisals against environmental defenders. We urge legislators to declare red-tagging as a crime punishable by law for curtailing constitutionally-guaranteed free speech and other civil liberties. Finally, we urge the Supreme Court to take action on the 37 pending legal actions filed by various groups and sectors to junk the authoritarian Anti-Terrorism Law.

Add your voice: #NoToRedTagging

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Environmental defenders working to protect the globally important corridors of nature and climate in the archipelagic nation of the Philippines have recently been among the targets of the deadly practice of ‘red-tagging.’

Red-tagging, defined by the Philippine Commission on Human Rights as, “an act of State actors, particularly law enforcement agencies, to publicly brand individuals, groups, or institutions as affiliated to communist or leftist terrorists,” has been known to lead to life-threatening human rights abuses against citizens challenging injustices and abuses perpetrated by the State.

In April 2018, land rights lawyer Benjamin Ramos found his name along with other activist leaders on a ‘hit list’ poster put up by the Philippine National Police accusing them of being personalities of the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing, the New People’s Army. Months later, he was shot dead by riding-in-tandem assassins.

The pattern of Attorney Ben’s murder reflects the dangers that thousands of Filipino environmental defenders constantly face. Documentation by the Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE) revealed that every victim of extrajudicial killing under President Rodrigo Duterte is just the bloody tip of some 124 defenders who suffer red-tagging and criminalization, threats and intimidation, illegal arrests, harassment lawsuits, and forced displacement.

Last December 1, 2020, Kalikasan PNE, a vocal watchdog on environmental defender killings, was itself red-tagged in a baseless presentation made by government intelligence officials during a Philippine Senate hearing.

Worse, the Anti-Terrorism Act recently railroaded by President Duterte allows government to designate or proscribe anyone as terrorists with reckless abandon. In turn, they are enabled to undertake warrantless arrests, ‘witch hunt’ inspections, and freeze orders of assets of anyone they labelled as ‘terrorist.’

The work of environmental defenders are crucial, now more than ever, as we have witnessed in the recent consecutive typhoon and flood disasters leading to Typhoon Ulysses (international name Vamco). Extreme rainfall met massive deforestation, land conversion, earth disturbance in watersheds across the Sierra Madre Mountain Range, causing more than US$ 862 million in damages affecting almost eight million Filipino people.
We, the undersigned environmental and climate activists from the Philippines and the international community, thus urge Filipino public authorities to undertake preventive interventions against the continued red-tagging and the possible escalation of reprisals against environmental defenders.

We urge legislators to declare red-tagging as a crime punishable by law for curtailing constitutionally-guaranteed free speech and other civil liberties.

Finally, we urge the Supreme Court to take action on the 37 pending legal actions filed by various groups and sectors to junk the authoritarian Anti-Terrorism Law.

Defend the defenders

On International Human Rights Day environmental advocates and climate justice activists took the streets to protest and at the same time celebrate the contributions of land, sea and forest defenders to the advancement of ecological justice.

Signatories

Leon Dulce
National Coordinator
Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE)

Lia Mai Torres
Executive Director
Center for Environmental Concerns – Philippines

Xian Guevarra
National Coordinator
Youth Advocates for Climate Action Philippines

Fread De Mesa
Representative
350.org Pilipinas

Kevin Bracken
International League of Peoples Struggle
Australia

Frances Quimpo
Center for Environmental Concerns
Philippines

Jeznin Angekyla Barroquillo
Anakbayan UP Diliman
Philippines

Katherine Delos Santos
Gabriela Youth Laguna
Philippines

Jane Frances Senosa
Panday Sining
Philippines

Deo Montesclaros
KADUAMI-North Luzon
Philippines

Joyce Sierra
Oceana
Philippines

Elvira Bolinget
Alliance of Concerned Teachers
Philippines

Petty S. Enriquez
Bukluran para sa Inang Kalikasan
Philippines

Corinne Bohos
Panday Sining
Philippines

Sofia Angela Federico
Center for Environmental Concerns
Philippines

Aye Mon Thu Aye
Dawei Probono Lawyer Network
Myanmar

Jay Tolentino
Center for Environmental Concerns
Philippines

Antonio Casitas
Ugnayan ng Mamamayan Laban sa Pagmimina at Kumbersyong Agraryo,
Philippines

Art Balmadrid
Farmers’ Assistance for Resource Management Education and Rehabilitation Incorporated
Philippines

Lobert Capispisan
Lakas ng Maliliit na Mangingisda sa Bicol
Philippines

Mitzi Jonelle Tan
Youth Advocates for Climate Action Philippines

Catherine Coumans
MiningWatch Canada
Canada

Vito Hernandez
AGHAM-Advocates of Science and Technology for the People
Philippines

Judith Eisl
Fridays for Future Austria
Austria

Ariel Capistrano
350 Pilipinas

Leo Mendoza Jr
Extinction Rebellion Philippines
Philippines

Faith Cuenca
Youth Advocates for Climate Action Philippines
Philippines

Joanna Marie Lising
Youth Advocates for Climate Action Philippines
Philippines

Lamar Moises Jeremiah Lioanag
Philippine Collegian
Philippines

Julie Anne Estrella
Youth Advocates for Climate Action Philippines
Philippines

Gabrielle Holazo
Youth Advocates for Climate Action Philippines
Philippines

Alonzeyah Mae
Kalihokan Para Sa Kinaiyahan
Philippines

Coleen Biore
Youth Advocates for Climate Action Philippines
Philippines

Elaine Estrera
Kalihokan Para Sa Kinaiyahan
Philippines

Erol Apo Villacorta
Youth Advocates for Climate Action Philippines
Philippines

Dani Jacob
KATRIBU – UP Diliman
Philippines

Jaymee Sofia Surro
Youth Advocates for Climate Action Philippines
Philippines

Meggie Nolasco
Salugpongan Lumad Schools
Philippines

Mark Jerome Jerome Pacia
Youth Advocates for Climate Action Philippines
Philippines

Rodne Galicha
Living Laudato Si’
Philippines

Iris Joy Gonzales
AGHAM-Advocates of Science and Technology for the People
Philippines

Nikki Santos
Taripnong Cagayan Valley
Philippines

John Mar Gamayon
Kalihokan para sa Kinaiyahan (KPSK)
Philippines

Ailís Níc Aoidh
Polluters Out
United Kingdom

Hannah Mae Mae Sucgang
Saribuhay UP Diliman
Philippines

Ace E. Quijano
STEP Philippines
Philippines

Ma. Isabel
Alay Sining
Philippines

Arra Mae Diana Manjares m
Youth Advocate for Climate Action Philippines
Philippines

Karl Begnotea
Kalikasan – Timog Katagalugan
Philippines

Shayne Remoroza
Youth Advocate for Climate Action Philippines
Philippines

Cid Ryan Ryan Manalo
SEARICE
Philippines

Erika Pardillo
PUP CTHTM JUNIOR COUNCIL – Environmental Protection and Climate Change Adaptation
Philippines

Annie Richards
Youth Strike for Climate, Nottingham
United Kingdom

Robert Victor Oclida
PUP SEED Network
Philippines

Cristina Palabay
Karapatan Alliance Philippines
Philippines

Reinsel Anne Peñamora
Miriam Environmental Planning Organization
Philippines

Deanna El Khoury
Youth Strike 4 Climate Nottingham
United Kingdom

Jacob Olaño
ACT-ES PNU
Philippines

Ava Bertolotti
Fridays for Future Digital, Polluters Out
United States

Richard Zafico
QCPSTA
Philippines

Natalie Lowrey
AID/WATCH
Philippines

Bong Andres
Migrante Australia in New South Wales
Australia

Sophia Bonifacio
Youth Advocates for Climate Action Philippines
Philippines

Edwin Subijano
Migrante Australia
Australia

John Din
Global Catholic Climate Movement-Pilipinas
Philippines

Joseph Pilapil
Climate Reality
Philippines

Phoebe Dimacali
GABRIELA-LONDON
Philippines

Nnimmo Bassey
Oilwatch International

Lou Arsenio
RCAM Ecology Ministry
Philippines

Adriana Bascone
CliMates Austria
Austria

Analisa Caunceran
FDWA
United States

Lila Akal
Igapo Project
United States

Samantha Hargreaves
WoMin African Alliance
South Africa

Hal Rhoades
The Gaia Foundation
United Kingdom

Eva Mayor
Kanlungan
United States

Richard Solly
London Mining Network
United Kingdom

Bill Angelo Bontigao
Bicol University Science Alliance Club
Philippines

Guadalupe Rodriguez
Salva la Selva
Spain

Juan Mathieu Thevenot
Programa Voluntariado Intag Ecuador
France

Shane Stevens
Victoria Branch of the Maritime Union of Australia
Australia

Joyce Elaine Kharess Linis
Youth Advocates for Climate Action Philippines
Philippines

Fiore Williams
Fridays For Future
United States

Donna Miranda
Sama-samang Artista para sa Kilusang Agraryo
Philippines

Douglas Booker
Ontario Committee For Human Rights in the Philippines
Canada

Kiko Paciencia
Philippine Misereor Partnership, Inc.
Philippines

Maro Luciano
Migrante Canada
Canada

Beth Dollaga
Canada-philippines Solidarity for Human Rights
Canada

Benjamin Zidar
Canada-Philippines Solidarity Organizations -Toronto
Canada

Stuart Ryan
Ontario Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines
Canada

Danica Aguinaldo
ASEAN Youth Advocates Network
Philippines

Fiona Racines
NTC Science Club
Philippines

Renuka Kad
Vikas Adhyayan Kendra
India

Regilyn Dalagan
PAGASA-People for Accountable Governance and Sustainable Action
Philippines

Christia Gail Ocampo
PAGASA-People for Accountable Governance and Sustainable Action
Philippines

Anina Abola
PAGASA-People for Accountable Governance and Sustainable Action
Philippines

Katrina Stuart Santiago
PAGASA-People for Accountable Governance and Sustainable Action
Philippines

Camille Dajay
PAGASA-People for Accountable Governance and Sustainable Action
Philippines

Christelle van Es
PAGASA-People for Accountable Governance and Sustainable Action
Netherlands

Aileen Tolentino
PAGASA-People for Accountable Governance and Sustainable Action
Netherlands

Martin Axelrot
Philippine Misereor Partnership, Inc.
Philippines

Andy Whitmore
Campaign for Human Rights in the Philippines (UK)
United Kingdom

Veniz Guzman
Lunas Collective
Philippines

Keisha Uy
PAGASA-People for Accountable Governance and Sustainable Action
Philippines

Camille Desacada
PAGASA-People for Accountable Governance and Sustainable Action
Philippines

Kim Jose
PAGASA-People for Accountable Governance and Sustainable Action
Philippines

Patricia Verdote
PAGASA-People for Accountable Governance and Sustainable Action
Philippines

Rico A Villanueva
ANAKPAWIS WMR
Philippines

Salsabila Khairunisa
Jaga Rimba
Indonesia

Kellyane Levac
ICHRP-Canada
Canada

Tengku Maharani
Jaga Rimba
Indonesia

Atiqah Bahrunnisa
Jaga Rimba
Indonesia

Phuong Ngo
Center for Sustainable Community Development
Vietnam

Nur Alifah
Jaga Rimba
Indonesia

Rachel Cox
Global Witness
United Kingdom

Maricel Meneses
PAGASA-People for Accountable Governance and Sustainable Action
Philippines

Rosie Lucente
Anakbayan Toronto
Canada

Michelle Cruz
Pantayo
Philippines

Aldrin Taule
Bayan Gitnang Luzon
Philippines

Stum Casia
KM64 Writers Collective
Philippines

Franchesca Timbreza
KM64 Writers Collective
Philippines

Geraldine Enriquez
Gabriela Youth Laguna
Philippines

Coleen Salamat
Oceana
Philippines

Liza Lorenzetti
Alberta Assembly of Social Workers
Canada

Marian Donly
Calgary Social Workers for Social Justice
Canada

Gabrielle Cayetano
PAGASA-People for Accountable Governance and Sustainable Action
Philippines

Ashok Ashok shrimali
Mines mineral and people
India

Angelica Vilela
PAGASA-People for Accountable Governance and Sustainable Action
Philippines

Arielle Baldonado
PAGASA-People for Accountable Governance and Sustainable Action
Philippines

John Ray Obina
Kabataan Partylist
Philippines

Glemir Sordilla
HAPI Jr.
Philippines

Easter Reyes
UP Marine Biological Society
Philippines

Jane Brock
ILPS (International League of Peoples’ Struggle)
Australia

Kamille Cuello
PAGASA-People for Accountable Governance and Sustainable Action
Philippines

Andrew Morrison
PASA
Australia

Benjamin Hitchcock
Earthworks
United States

Clarence Santero
PAGASA-People for Accountable Governance and Sustainable Action
Philippines

Frenzzy Heart Conag
PAGASA-People for Accountable Governance and Sustainable Action
Philippines

Antonio de Jesus
ICHRP Québec
Canada

Patricia Fox
PASA
Australia

Beverly Longid
International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL)
Philippines

Jen Guste
Council for People’s Development and Governance
Philippines