AGHAM – Advocates of Science and Technology for the People vehemently condemns the abduction of Jonila Castro and Jhed Tamano, community organizers working with fisherfolk communities in opposing destructive reclamation and coastal development projects in Bataan and Bulacan.

According to the statement of AKAP Ka Manila Bay, the two community organizers were reportedly abducted by four armed men at 7 pm last September 2 in Brgy. Lati, Orion, Bataan. Prior to this incident, the two were preparing for relief operations and consultations with communities in Bataan. Both are volunteers of AKAP Ka Manila Bay, a Manila Bay-wide network of advocates that oppose destructive reclamation projects.

AGHAM has been working with AKAP Ka Manila Bay on the campaigns against the destructive reclamation projects which cause irreversible ecological damage and displacement of communities. Jonila Castro and Jhed Tamano are volunteers advocating for the welfare of fishing communities affected by destructive coastal development projects in Manila Bay. Some of the projects in coasts of northern Manila Bay include projects by San Miguel Corporation, which includes the New Manila International Airport (NMIA) in Bulacan, the Manila Bay Integrated Flood Control, Coastal Defense and Expressway (MBIFCCDE) along the coasts of Bataan, Pampanga and Bulacan, and the Northern Access Link Expressway (NALEX) which will affect fishing and farming communities in Bulacan, Pampanga, and Tarlac. These projects will bring nothing but destruction of the environment and the loss of livelihood of communities.

AGHAM condemns this incident and calls on the authorities to conduct an immediate investigation. The Philippines is considered to be the deadliest country for environmental and land rights defenders in the entire Asia since 2014. All over the country, environmental defenders opposing development projects are facing intimidation, forced disappearances, and killings, and this has become a norm under the Marcos Jr. administration. The culture of impunity must stop!#


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