Environmental groups: Marcos regime, biggest threat to Philippine environment

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Environmental groups and activists protested at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) office in Quezon City on June 5, in conjunction with the commemoration of the annual World Environment Day. Led by the Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment, they condemned the Marcos regime as the “biggest threat” to the Philippines’ environment.

“President Marcos Jr. and his administration are causing the greatest damage to Philippine environment and our people. His penchant for projects such as large-scale mining, massive reclamation in Manila Bay and Cebu, and … mega-dams and …nuclear plants spell disaster for our rich biodiversity, our health, and our future,” Jonila Castro, Kalikasan advocacy officer, said.

In the data collected by Kalikasan, the Marcos regime approved or extended the operation of at least 134 mining projects covering nearly 59,000 hectares of land. As many as 20 destructive large dams are currently being built nationwide.

“For millions of Filipinos, these so-called development and ‘green’ projects only spell displacement, hunger, increased vulnerability, and misery. But the Marcos Jr. administration willfully turns a blind eye as long as these projects line their pockets and those of his favorite ultra-rich business compradors,” said Castro.

“They employ armed state troops as protection forces [for these projects] to silence any resistance,” Castro added. Castro herself was a victim of abduction and state violence when she was forcibly taken, along with Jhed Tamano, in September 2023 because of their opposition to reclamation in Manila Bay. The Philippines is among the most dangerous places in the world for environmentalists.

Also participating in the DENR protest were the Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) and the Amihan National Federation of Peasant Women. They condemned the Marcos regime for its failure to address the needs of the rural sector that are mainly affected by the increasing number of calamities resulting from climate change and environmental degradation.

World Environment Day is an annual commemoration established by the United Nations to call for the environmental protection. It was declared in 1972 and first commemorated in 1973.

AB: Environmental groups: Marcos regime, biggest threat to Philippine environment