On the statement made by Filipino government spokesperson Panelo that the PRRD's rhetoric is not to blame for the rise in land activists killings and that there is no new evidence in this investigation, Ben Leather, Senior Campaigner at Global Witness said:
“‘Repeating a lie’ is a phrase that could not be truer of the Duterte administration behaviour this week. It’s becoming worrying to the point of shocking, that after our three clear reports over the last two months proving how attacks against land and environmental defenders are rife in the Philippines, the government still shirks responsibility for these citizens, and refuses to look corporate greed in the face.
“Global Witness' report released yesterday is the result of three years of rigorous investigation, working with multiple partners on the ground, with great care taken. It contains previously unreleased investigative work, diving deep into attacks on defenders across mining, tourism and coal. Our exposes on Dole Philippines and Del Monte Philippines over the last two months have illustrated an escalating problem coming from agribusiness. We name tens of defenders, tragically killed – which should be evidence enough to provoke a positive response from the government. We name companies, we name investors, we name government forces – we could not be clearer with our evidence.
“Each one of these defenders' stories are important - and we demand specific responses and justice for those named in our report, as well as for real action to to tackle the root causes of this problem and prevent future attacks against defenders at the hands of business.
“It's good to know that the government agrees with us on the importance of rigorous investigations. The government must do its job and ensure full independent investigations and prosecutions of material and intellectual authors.
“It’s time that all our governments put proper measures in place to stop destructive, irresponsible business from taking lives and destroying the planet. The people leading these corporates should also be taking a good hard look at our report and start their own investigations, and their investors should be holding them to account.
“We sincerely hope the President’s spokespeople and the President himself retake their promises on the environment, corruption and marginalised communities. This would prevent the threats against those standing on the frontline of environmental defence in the first place.”
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