Justice for the surfaced environment and human rights defenders Eco and Jak!

March 28, 2024

by IBON Foundation

We are relieved that Francisco “Eco” Dangla III and Axiel “Jak” Tiong have been found as a result of the arduous and resolute search mission conducted by a joint team of environment and rights defenders. We join their families and colleagues in demanding accountability for their agony and abduction. Their violent abduction was a brazen violation of civil and political rights that exposes the Marcos administration’s human rights façade.

Eco and Jak’s case underscores the constriction of already limited spaces for democracy in the Philippines. This is only the latest government action to target the people’s freedom of opinion, expression, and participation in public affairs as outlined in the International Covenant for Civil and Political Rights.

Indeed the perpetrators of the ordeal of Eco and Jak must be held accountable. Like the rest of Filipinos the two advocates have the right to pursue their chosen work without fear or repression.

Eco and Jak have been instrumental in community and environmental campaigns with the Pangasinan People’s Strike for the Environment and the Environment Defenders’ Congress. They work with farmers, fisherfolk and indigenous Filipinos broad-based ecumenical formations in Central Luzon. These efforts have empowered citizens to assert their rights, offering hope and strength to those facing adversity.

The attacks against them and other environmental defenders only serve the interests of big business and bureaucratic elites who promote destructive projects like black-sand mining, coal-fired energy, and nuclear plants. These undermine the people’s well-being and the environment, exacerbating existing issues of poverty, unemployment, and underdevelopment.

We demand justice for now surfaced Eco and Jak, and call for the surfacing of others who have been forcibly taken away, as they are integral to the collective pursuit of a better future for the Filipino people. Elite-biased policies that prioritize profit over community well-being and environmental sustainability must constantly be challenged. In doing so, we uphold the values of a just and humane society, championed by defenders of both the environment and human rights like Eco and Jak.

Justice for Eco and Jak!

Surface other desaparacidos!

Stop the attacks!

End policies that harm communities, livelihoods, and the environment!