We, Filipino environmental defenders, will join the Grand Mañanita on Independence Day to celebrate the growing resistance for our fundamental freedoms.
We join thousands who resolutely demand President Rodrigo Duterte to veto the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020. Its provisions will institutionalize the red-tagging, censorship, warrantless arrests, and other human rights abuses that hundreds of eco-activists have suffered under the current dispensation.
We have been harassed, intimidated, harmed, and even murdered for studying our ecological frontiers, nurturing our natural resources, and protecting our environment, and as a result made this country the most dangerous place for environmental defenders such as indigenous peoples, farmers, and activists. These actions that protect millions of hectares of critical habitat and biodiversity will only face worsened criminalization and other reprisals under the Anti-Terror Act.
As such, we gather to express our strongest indignation with much care for health and safety protocols as much as we care for our planet. We demand from the Duterte administration to focus on addressing serious gaps in their COVID-19 pandemic response and working towards a greener and better normal, instead of prioritizing militaristic responses such as the Anti-Terror Act of 2020.