PSNA condemns attempted murder of another environment defender
NEW ZEALAND – The Philippines Solidarity Network of Aotearoa (PSNA) condemned the attempted killing of another environment defender just a week after Philippine President Benigno Simeon Aquino III defended the human rights record of his administration and remarked that criticisms on rights abuses were just “Leftist propaganda” over Radio New Zealand interview.
Dr. Isidro Olan, executive director of the Lovers of Nature Foundation, was reportedly shot while he was driving home in the town of Carmen in Surigao del Sur on Monday afternoon.
According to Fr. Oliver Castor, spokesperson for the Task Force Justice for Environment Defenders, “Dr. Olan was a passionate environment defender who opposed destructive and large-scale mining as well as illegal logging activities in Cantilan and other areas of Surigao del Sur. We ask for everyone’s prayers for Dr. Olan’s immediate recovery, and for justice to be swiftly exacted upon the assassins and their clients as well.”
“As the life of another mining foe has been threatened, we remind the Philippine government again that foreign dignitaries including members of the European Parliament and our very own Members of Parliament here in New Zealand have joined calls for Pres. Aquino to stop the extra-judicial killings.
“The attempted killing of Dr. Olan comes a week after Members of Parliament belonging to the Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand expressed concern on the killings of at least 13 environmentalists under President Aquino’s watch, including indigenous Filipinos trying to save their ancestral homeland,” Murray Horton, PSNA Secretary said in a statement.
In a statement dated 23 October, the Green Party noted, “We need to ensure that, as trade and other links open up between New Zealand and the Philippines, that New Zealand companies do not become complicit in the human rights abuses that are commonplace in the Philippines.”
“We dare Pres. Aquino to deliver on his promise to render justice to human rights victims under his predecessor and his own watch, and stop dismissing the criticisms on persistent human rights abuses as ‘Leftist propaganda,’ PSNA said.