Environmental groups facing standing threats of surveillance and raids to their office welcomed a solidarity visit from the Netherlands Embassy last November 20 to discuss the current security situation they are facing.
“The Netherlands is a strong supporter of civil society engagement in development processes. People have the right to voice their concerns and opinions in a legitimate way without restraint. Kalikasan is doing important work in this respect, bringing together different stakeholders to voice their interests and strengthen accountability,” said Pieter Terpstra, Deputy Head of Mission of the Dutch Embassy.
The Dutch government is currently in a partnership with the Duterte administration in crafting the Manila Bay Sustainable Development Master Plan (MBSDMP), which aims to come up with a blueprint for appropriate development options across the bay.
“We are grateful to how the Dutch Embassy has reached out to us in the face of reprisals to our far-reaching work on environmental defense. The Embassy can attest to our promotion of human rights due diligence in the planning and development processes around the Manila Bay, where Dutch expertise is being tapped, is an important contribution to ensuring environmental sustainability and vibrant democratic participation,” said Leon Dulce, national coordinator of Kalikasan PNE.
The common office of the Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE) and the Center for Environmental Concerns – Philippines in Quezon City faced confirmed surveillance incidents since September 20 this year and an attempted raid by the National Capital Region Police Office last October 4.