A pro-environment group has called for an independent investigation into the alleged bombing of rural communities where mining projects are being planned.
The Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment this week reported cases of “aerial strafing and bombing of 14 communities” that resulted in the displacement of several families.
The group said the “indiscriminate bombing and shelling do not only kill, maim, destroy property, and disrupt the lives of communities — these also cause widespread ecological destruction.”
One of the incidents cited by the group was the April 15, 2022, shelling in Sitio Palo 12, Barangay Poblacion 12, Santiago, Agusan del Norte.
Jon Bonifacio, national coordinator of Kalikasan PNE, said military operations and arbitrary bombings have become “part of the modus operandi used by the state to ‘clear out’ areas for extractive industries.”
He said other communities that were bombed and strafed were also “similarly found in places where resistance to destructive projects was strong or growing.”
Bonifacio said at least 10 land and environmental activists were killed this year.
“While this presents a welcome drop in the number of killings, this is on top of hundreds of other human rights violations against Indigenous Peoples, small farmers, fisherfolk, and other environmental stewards,” he said.
The group renewed its call for Congress to pass laws that will safeguard the rights of environmental and human rights defenders.