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‘PH, deadliest country’ report: A colossal fabrication

August 16, 2019

‘PH, deadliest country’ report: A colossal fabrication 1
RIGOBERTO D. TIGLAO

READ on, and I guarantee you’ll be shocked and angry at the sanctimonious European and US NGOs and media’s lies about our country and its President.

A few weeks ago, Global Witness, a UK-based entity purportedly championing issues, came out with its 2018 report, published like an expensive magazine with dramatic color photographs and graphs, and melodramatically titled Enemies of the State.

It claimed that last year, with “30 environmentalists” killed by state forces, the Philippines was the “world’s deadliest country for defenders of their land or the environment.” Global Witness is mainly funded by ideological imperialists, the tycoons George Soros and Pierre Omidyar. The two, through North Base Media and Omidyar Network, have also have been the main foreign investors in the stridently anti-Duterte website rappler.com.

Ours is the deadliest country, the report claimed, since Brazil — the country notorious for the killing of those resisting logging by businesses of its Amazon rainforest — had only 20 such deaths, Columbia 24, and India 23.

Western and local Yellow media bannered the claims, without taking an iota of effort to validate them. The New York Times even had a brutal piece by its editorial board that had a devious wordsmith’s trick, if you can detect it: “ In 2018, 164 defenders of the land and environment were killed, with the Philippines of the brutal President Rodrigo Duterte taking over from Brazil as the deadliest place to resist rapacious developers and governments.”* This indeed is another confirmation that Western media, especially those in the US, have long lost their professionalism and objectivity.

Fabrication

The Global Witness report on the Philippines is such a colossal fabrication.

To pretend that its findings are based on data, Global Witness listed the names of the 164 killed in the 20 countries it reported on. I checked each and every “victim” in the Philippines it listed.

‘PH, deadliest country’ report: A colossal fabrication 2
Global False Witness’?: Its fabrication (top), and as reported by gullible media. SCREENGRAB FROM GLOBAL WITNESS, NEW YORK TIMES, GUARDIAN and CNN WEBSITES

I was aghast at the data. At most, only one or two of the alleged “defenders” were alleged — and solely by communist propaganda fronts — to have been killed in the course of a struggle to defend their environment or even their land.

Global Witness claimed that “Duterte’s government has ramped up its campaign of ‘red-tagging’ rights activists, including land and environmental defenders.”

But three of the victims it listed were with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) — Cagayan forest ranger Marcial Pattaguan and his assistant Bronsei Immpiel, killed probably by bandits, the police claimed. The third DENR employee, Dominador Lucas, was killed in Antipolo, with initial police investigation showing that he may have been killed by one party in a land dispute case he was handling.

Soros-Omidyar

There’s worse. Out of the 30 that the Soros-Omidyar research group claimed were ”defenders of the environment” killed by state forces, nine were landless sugarcane workers killed in the so-called Sagay (Negros Occidental) massacre in 2018.

While the case has not been definitively solved, local police had claimed that the victims were prodded by a Communist Party peasant organization to occupy lands in the area as part of its so-called “bungkalan” program of occupying private lands they claim are idle.

The gunmen, the police claimed, were most probably landowner’s goons. They initially wanted to frighten the workers to leave the area with gunshots, but then one worker fired back, and things got out of hand. Only communist representatives in government claimed that government was responsible for the massacre. Not by any semantics can Global Witness claim they were fighting for land: they didn’t own it, and weren’t even agrarian reform beneficiaries intent on claiming land given to them.

Out of the 30 killed that Global Witness claimed were “defenders of the environment,” five were in adjacent areas in Negros and 12 in three Mindanao provinces. These cases had two common features.

First, they were in insurgency “hot spots” (Agusan, Bukidnon, Compostela Valley) where the communist New People’s Army (NPA) had sizeable bases and fighters, and where there have been in the past few years, intense operations by the military to suppress the armed communist group. Most of the reports on these killings were made solely by communist-linked propaganda venues.

Second, going by their descriptions by these communist-linked groups, mainly Karapatan, they were all members or officials of peasant organizations. It claimed they were killed by members of an Army infantry battalion (e.g., 66th Infantry Battalion in a case in Agusan and 8th Infantry Battalion in Bukidnon). Claims of army involvement by communist propaganda venues have always been a clear signal that they were either actually NPA members killed in firefights or sadly, assassinated by military intelligence units. In either case, the killings had nothing to do with the struggle to defend the environment.

The only conclusion one can have with these data, is that the so-called “defenders of the environment” that Global Witness claimed lost their lives to state forces last year, were actually killed in rural conflicts that had nothing to do with the environment, with more than half of these casualties — killed in fire-fights or assassinated — in the government’s campaign against the NPA.

None of these had anything to do with specific struggles to defend the environment, even if two were described by communist propaganda venues as members of rural associations “acting against the large-scale mining projects.”

What all these mean is that ironically, the communists have managed to get a Western right-wing ideological-imperialist entity, Global Witness, to disseminate its propaganda lies, with both having the same goal to topple the Duterte government.

The 30th

If you’re counting, I’ve so far described in some detail the circumstances of the killing of 29 out of the 30 purported “defenders of the environment” that Global Witness claimed were murdered by agents of the Duterte government.

The 30th “defender of the environment” is Mark Ventura, a parish priest in Gattaran, a remote town in the country’s far-north Cagayan province, killed in May 2018. Although Ventura was reported by two Yellow media outlets as “known for his anti-mining advocacy,” Duterte had disclosed that the police investigation indicated that the priest had at least eight “illicit affairs with the wives and daughters and paramours of big-time businessmen and politicians, who had the motive to kill him.” The Church has vehemently denied this, although the bishop in the province admitted there were widespread rumors about this illicit affairs.

While the case remains unsolved, there is no doubt that Ventura was killed for reasons that had nothing to do with any crusade of his to defend the environment.

So the reality that emerges from this detailed accounting is that “defenders of the environment” killed here is zero, not 30.

The campaign of the US elite and its media, helped by the Yellows and the Reds here, has been to create outrage against Duterte by claiming that his government had killed “20,000” — a very false figure Global Witness also reports — in his war against illegal drugs. With that false accusation not having any adverse impact on his popularity, they’re now trying a new tack, as “saving the earth” has become a chic, noble cause: “He’s killing those trying to save the earth.”

Aren’t you convinced now, that they are in an all-hands-on-deck mode to topple Duterte?

*Because of the proximity of “164 defenders” to “Philippines,” the impression of that sentence in a reader’s mind is that this is the number killed here, not for all the 20 countries.

Email: tiglao.manilatimes@gmail.com

Facebook: Rigoberto Tiglao

Twitter: @bobitiglao

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