Human rights defenders (HRDs) and advocates joined the appeal for justice of the family of slain environmental activist, Gloria Capitan. Known as Ate Glo, Capitan was shot in the head and neck by an unknown gunman on a motorcycle last July 1, 2016 in Mariveles, Bataan. As president of the Samahan ng Nagkakaisang Mamamayan ng Lucanin (SNML), she was active in campaign against an open coal storage facility in Lucanin village in Mariveles, leading mass actions and petitions.
In a statement signed by different civil society organizations, which included the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ), the Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM), and Environmental Legal Assistance Center, Inc. (ELAC), an Alternative Law Groups (ALG) member, the groups asked for the thorough investigation of the case. They expressed solidarity with Capitan while ensuring that they will continue with her advocacy.
“If this is an attempt to silence other anti-coal activists like her, then they are mistaken. On the ground where Ate Glo's body fell, where the blood from her body flowed, more anti-coal and climate justice activists will sprout,” they said.
According to the report by the Philippine Daily Inquirer, the SMNL petitioned the closure of the facility to the village council, local government and Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). The village council had issued the Seafront Shipyard and Port Terminal Services Corp. a certificate of clearance for its coal stockpile project there in January last year.
The SNML also filed a complaint in the Commission on Human Rights and Office of the Ombudsman against Lucanin officials and the Mariveles government for their “continued disregard of the people’s complaint and problems regarding the operation of coal storage.”
Through its Environmental Defense (EnDefense) program, ALG supports environmental human rights defenders like Capitan, and closely monitors their cases. Launched as part of the agreement between Foundation for the Philippine Environment (FPE) and the Philippine Tropical Forest Conservation Foundation (PTFCF) to facilitate collaboration between them and their partners in areas of mutual interest in the Philippines, and to make available resources for projects that they will co-finance, the EnDefense Program is a funding mechanism for litigation and related legal actions that seek to protect the country's environment and natural resources.