Philippines still ‘deadliest’ in Asia for environmental activists

MANILA (Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN) - Out of the 200 environmental activists killed in 24 countries, 28 were recorded in the Philippines, making it the most dangerous place for planet heroes in Asia. 

A London-based nongovernment organization has once again tagged the Philippines as the most dangerous country in Asia and third across the globe for environmental activists.

In its annual report titled “Defenders of the Earth” released on Thursday, Global Witness called 2016 the “worst year ever” for green advocates due to activist killings “both growing and spreading” worldwide, with at least 200 killed in 24 countries, up from 185 killed in 16 countries in 2015.

At least 200 land and environmental activists were slain protecting forests, rivers and land from mining, logging and agricultural companies—the highest annual number on record, the watchdog group said.

With 28 activists killed in the Philippines in 2016, the country remains the worst in Asia for the fourth year running, or since 2013 when Global Witness first launched its international report.

For 2016, the Philippines also ranked third worldwide for the most number of killings, following only Colombia with 37 and Brazil with 49.

“A voracious mining industry makes the Philippines stand out for killings in Asia,” Global Witness said in a statement.

Most of the killings were linked to mining, coal and extractive industries. Half of those killed were indigenous people.

Global Witness considered mining “the bloodiest trade” in the world, with at least 33 murders worldwide linked to the sector, the report read.

Kalikasan-PNE, a partner organization of Global Witness, noted that under the Duterte administration, they had monitored at least 17 environment-related killings.

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