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We do not condone violence against environmentalists — Palace

MANILA, Philippines - Encouraging violence and intimidation, especially in terms of handling issues of environmental activists, is not the policy of the Duterte administration, Malacañang maintained yesterday.

“We do not condone such violence and intimidation,” presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said.

Abella rebutted the report that found the Philippines as among the deadliest countries in the world for environmental defenders for four straight years. 

Responding to the issue that mining-related killings accounted for the plurality of these cases, with indigenous lumad people as among the hardest hit, Abella noted that the government has created a task force primarily to handle these concerns.

“Government has thus established the Indigenous Peoples Inter-Agency Task Force composed of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, its corporate arm, the Natural Resources Development Corp., and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples to ensure that indigenous peoples are not subjected to undue pressure,” he said.

The task force also aims to help indigenous groups from being influenced by unscrupulous businessmen who want to extract natural resources from their ancestral lands.

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