An anti-mining alliance launched this week a tribute to honor “environmental heroes” and “martyrs” on Sibuyan Island.
“It is critical that we remember our fallen green warriors, especially during this period when the current administration is revising the nation’s history and eradicating the memory of past heroes,” said Jaybee Garganera, national coordinator of Alyansa Tigil Mina.
“We need to honor and remember those who spent their lives fighting for the communities and the environment,” he said in a statement.
Among those being honored was Armin Marin, an environmental activist who was shot and killed by a security official of a mining agency. Marin was an official of the World Wildlife Fund Philippines and was the 23rd environmentalist to be killed under the administration of former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
“Armin is a pillar and role model for us Sibuyanons,” said Elizabeth Ibanez of the groups Sibuyanon Against Mining and Bayay Sibuyanon.
“He truly loved the island of Sibuyan and was concerned with its citizens. He aspired for a safe, peaceful and sustainable future for everyone,” she said.
“We find it unacceptable that his work is being ignored and defamed by the mining company,” Ibanez added.
“Remembrance activities” are being set to be held until December 12 in different parts of the country to recognize the “heroism and martyrdom” of environmental defenders.
Among those who will be honored are Macli-ing Dulag (Kalinga), Gerry Ortega (Palawan), Eliezer Billanes (Socksargen), Gensun Agustin (Cagayan), Datu Victor Danyan (Socksargen), and Gloria Capitan (Bataan).
“This is a very welcome initiative for us, the youth, who have no knowledge and memory of the courageous acts of past and present environmental warriors,” said Charles Gregory Rocil, Nature Ambassador of Sibuyan Island.
“By honoring these heroes and telling their stories, we become inspired to emulate their good work and support advocacies for the environment,” he said.
The activities will culminate on December 8, dubbed as the “Day of Environmental Heroes and Martyrs.”