Int’l watchdog denounced

September 25, 2019

MALACAÑANG yesterday slammed the report of international human rights watchdog group Global Witness on the spate of killings of environmental activists and land defenders in the Philippines under President Rodrigo Duterte.

Data released by Global Witness showed there were 113 environmental activists and land rights defenders killed in the first three years of Duterte’s term.

This is nearly double the 65 killings reported in the three years prior to the current administration.

Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the report “falsely and unfairly” pinned on the administration the blame for the killings.

“The Palace considers the UK-based group Global Witness as a purveyor of falsity and a subservient machinery for political propaganda. There is nothing new to its sham assertion which mimics the recurring chants of the usual derogator of President Duterte,” Panelo said.

Also, he said the report was a “mere rehash” of what the organization stated in July.

“Its original manifesto did not accomplish its mission of tainting the integrity of this administration, thus the shameful resort to repetition. This is not news,” he said.

The Palace official added local authorities, security forces, and even tribal leaders died protecting land rights against communist insurgents who want to control these areas.

In response, the President had to undertake measures to maintain peace and order in the affected localities, he said.

“Blaming a government with baseless conjectures for a domestic problem which it seeks to resolve flies in the face of impartial observation and circumspection, and even causes a division among its people. In this case, it is worse as it is being committed by one who is a stranger to our country’s internal affairs,” Panelo said.