Climate and Environment

Groups call for release of environmental defender in Laguna

Groups call for release of environmental defender in Laguna
Satellite image shows Pakil town in Laguna.
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MANILA, Philippines — Groups called on authorities to investigate the arrest of an environmental defender in Laguna and release her from detention.

Philippine National Police-Special Action Force arrested Daisy Macapanpan on Saturday in Pakil town, according to groups Defend Southern Tagalog and Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment.

Macapanpan was reportedly arrested after she delivered a speech protesting the construction of the Ahunan Pumped-Storage Hydropower Project in Pakil. She was seen in a video being apprehended by personnel in full battle gear.

Kalikasan PNE called the warrant of arrest — for a rebellion case in 2008 — used against Macapanpan “highly questionable.” It urged Pakil Mayor Vicente Soriano to order a probe into the incident and recall the arrest, citing the local chief executive’s supervisory power over the local police.

“Dapat palayain ang nasabing environmental defender at gawaran nang buo ang kanyang mga karapatan at remedyo na naaayon sa batas,” said Charm Maranan, spokesperson of Defend Southern Tagalog.

(The said environmental defender should be released and be granted in full her rights and remedies in accordance with the law.)

Crackdown vs envi defenders

Groups said the arrest of Macapanpan is an example of the crackdown against rights and environmental defenders. 

In recent years, human rights advocates reported to facing warrant of arrests of cases from years ago or from far away areas, that they claim they know nothing about. 

The PNE, in its statement, did not elaborate on the case Macapangan is supposedly facing.

“This is a clear reprisal against her for standing up against a potentially destructive dam project,” said Leon Dulce, national coordinator of Kalikasan PNE.

“There is nothing wrong with airing disapproval and explaining opinions on why the Ahunan Hydropower Project should be shelved. The purpose of such discussions that locals have is to raise awareness and discourse over the matters at hand.

The 1,400-megawatt pumped-storage hydropower plant is estimated to cover 299.4 hectares of land in the barangays of Baño, Burgos, Rizal and Taft in Pakil. In a document submitted to the environment department for public scoping, proponent Ahunan Power Inc. said most of the project area is “sparsely populated and covered by a mix of medium-sized trees and tall shrubs.”

Ahunan Power Inc. is the joint venture of tycoon Enrique Razon’s Prime Metro Power Holdings Corp. and JBD Water Power Inc. — Gaea Katreena Cabico



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