MANILA – The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Wednesday committed to continue protecting the country’s vast and diversified environment.
PNP chief, Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, made this comment after Global Witness listed the Philippines as one of the deadliest countries for land and environmental defenders in the world in 2020.
Eleazar said the PNP would continue to strictly enforce environmental laws that will protect, not just the country’s natural resources, but also individuals and groups who are in the frontline of preserving the environment.
“The PNP stands with our kababayan (compatriots) in pushing for the protection of our environment through the enforcement of related laws as part of our makakalikasan (eco-friendly) commitment,” Eleazar said in a statement.
He cited an instance wherein the police immediately acted on the attack perpetrated against two forest rangers in Rizal province.
“In fact, we deployed our Special Action Force at the Masungi Georeserve in Rizal after two of its forest rangers were attacked two months ago and our SAF men are just waiting for the deputization order from the DENR,” Eleazar said.
Eleazar said the PNP would continue its coordination with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), as part of manifesting support to the country’s land and environment protectors.
The PNP, he added, is considering having talks with the DENR to discuss concrete plans in protecting forest rangers, such as providing training.
“The PNP will continuously coordinate with the DENR and the AFP for all forms of assistance that we could extend to empower our forest rangers in protecting our forests but in doing so, we also ask for the help of other kababayan and other stakeholders in achieving this goal,” Eleazar said.
According to the 2021 report of the Global Witness, the Philippines ranked third in the world list with 29 recorded killings of “people defending their homes, land and livelihoods, and ecosystems”, behind Colombia which was named the worst country with 65 deaths followed by Mexico with 30 killed land defenders last year.
Global Witness is non-governmental organization that focuses on holding companies and governments accountable for the destruction of the environment. (with reports from Priam Nepomuceno/PNA)