|Kalikasan condemns killing of Mario Auxilio|
|Written by Administrator|
|Monday, 18 June 2007 12:02|
Is the Arroyo administration resorting to assassinating environmental advocates who oppose the plunderous and destructive resource extraction projects supported by the government?
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This was the question posed by Kalikasan Peoples Network for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE) National Coordinator Clemente Bautista Jr. as the nationwide environmental network condemned the extrajudicial killing of environmental activist Mario Auxilio last weekend.
Auxilio was ambushed Friday night and died yesterday at the Governor Celestino Gallares Memorial Hospital in Tagbilaran City after sustaining gunshot wounds in the head and left arm. The gunman was identified as a certain Hilario Diola, a member of suspected vigilante group Alimaong under the 15th IBPA.
In addition to his work as secretary-general of Bayan Muna (People First) partylist in Bohol, Auxilio was a member of the Defend Our Seas Coalition, the area coordinator for Leyte province of nongovernment organization Central Visayas Fisherfolk Development Center, Inc. (Fidec Inc.) in 2005, and one of the founding members of grassroots fisherfolk organization Panaghiusa sa Gagmay'ng Mangingisda sa Sugbo (Pamana-Sugbo) , Bautista said.
"As an active member of Defend Our Seas, a coalition campaigning against off-shore mining in the Central Visayas region, Auxilio successfully mobilized numerous fishing communities in the province for the recent campaign against oil-exploration in Bohol," Bautista said.
Auxilio was ambushed Friday night after meeting with Boholano fisherfolk and farmers' organizations who oppose an upcoming seismic survey for a prospective oil exploration project in the Tanon Strait in the East-West Visayan Basin off the coast of Bohol.
The consortium of Alcorn Gold Resources Corp, Trans-Asia Oil and Energy Development Corp., and Petro-Energy Resources Corporation obtained government permission to develop and explore possible oil and gas sources covering 440,000 hectares of exploratory grounds in the said area, which would imperil both the rich marine biodiversity of the site and the livelihoods of thousands of fisherfolk, Bautista said.
Auxilio is the second environmental advocate to be killed in Bohol recently, Bautista noted. Farmer- leader, anti-large dam advocate, and Bagong Alyansang Makabayan-Bohol Chapter chairperson Victor Olayvar was killed by suspected military elements in Danao, Bohol last Sept. 7, 2006.
Auxilio is also the second environmental advocate to be killed this year, Bautisa noted, after Audy Anchango, Special Investigator of the DENR-Naectaf and a constant oppositor to illegal logging operations in Quezon Province, was killed in Lucena City on April 22, 2007.