Environmentalist under threat

It is not only the environment which is under threat, but also the environmentalists. And as in the first, it is the government that perpetrates the assault.

Such is the case of the harassment of Vince Cinches, coordinator of 350–an international watchdog on climate change. He has been hounded with overt surveillance by suspected military agents since Friday (July 29, 2011). He has been the subject of most vile intrigues and veiled threats since boarding the Ceres Liner at the South Bus Terminal on that day all the way to Dumaguete City.

In Dumaguete, he was confronted on Saturday (July 30) by the perpetrators who tried to dissuade him from further conducting dialogues in communities regarding his group’s campaign ‘Moving Planet.’ One of the perpetrators, who styled himself as a doctor, even warned Vince that he may be disappeared. He would later spread text messages, through mobile phone number 09051150981, to Vince’s friends and family in Cebu that the activist has collapsed and brought to a hospital in Dumaguete.

Expectedly, the ‘psy-war’ tactic has thrown Vince’s friends and family into panic.

That is exactly the climate that the perpetrators were trying to create. By puffing up smoke of fear and suspicion, the perpetrators hope to hide their actions and intention. By casting a cloud of confusion, the perpetrators hope to obscure their trail.

It is a condemnable condition that hangs over us even with the ouster of the Arroyo regime. It is a disturbing testament to the failure of the present dispensation at dissipating the climate of impunity where human rights violations escalate and justice remains elusive for the victims.

On the other hand, it also forces us to forge an ever stronger unity to defend people’s right to criticize elitist government policies and programs without fear of reprisal. It compels us to demand that the Aquino government abandon the legacy of bigotry of its predecessor by junking its militarist Oplan Bayanihan now.

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