Environmentalist Murdered in the Philippines

Environmentalist Murdered in the Philippines

The Philippine press is abuzz with news that an environmental activist by the name of Elipidio “Jojo” de la Victoria was murdered last week in apparent retaliation for his outspoken efforts to protect the Visayan Seas, one of the richest marine eco-regions in the world. According to an editorial in the Philippine Sun Star, “[c]ommercial fishing is big business, and the view is that [Jojo’s] killing … was a small price to pay for continued profitability.” A 1 million Philippine peso ($19,400) bounty reportedly was put on his head, and then on Tuesday news broke that a police officer, Marcial Bacudo Ocampo, has been arrested after numerous witnesses linked him to the killing.


Now there are fresh reports that one of Jojo’s colleagues, Anthony “Tony” Oposa, Jr., has a 1 million Philippine peso bounty on his head as well. Oposa is best known as the name plaintiff in the Philippine Supreme Court case of Oposa v. Factoran, available here.



A group of environmental law activists and law professors have circulated emails indicating that Mr. Oposa is appealing “to his friends and allies across the world to help him in requesting immediate assistance to protect him and his family and to
encourage action by local, national, and international authorities.” They have initiated a letter writing campaign to the Philippine authorities, made overtures to the MSM to highlight Oposa’s plight, and offered Oposa temporary sanctuary in the United States.



I am not privy to any of the details of this case, but the facts reported in the Philippine press together with the information garnered across a network of international environmentalists give rise to serious concerns for the safety of a world-renown environmental activist.



If you are interested in more information contact Zygmunt Plater at the Boston College Law School or John Bonine at the University of Oregon School of Law.

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Professor John E. Bonine
Professor John E. Bonine

Thanks to Hari Osofsky for contacting Roger and getting this out there. Detailed information is at this site, set up by Land Air Water, our environmental law group (world’s oldest such student group): http://www.pielc.org Volunteers around the world have translated the alert into Russian (thanks Svitlana Kravchenko), Bahasa Indonesian (thanks Jennifer Mohamed-Katerere), Spanish (thanks Nicolas Lucas), and Portugese (thanks Guilherme Purvin) so far. Taking the laboring oar on the law professors’ letter are David Hunter at American University and Zygmunt Plater at Boston College. Durwood Zaelke and Scott has been helping from INECE. In Spain, Adriana Fabra has been alerting people particularly in the oceans community. In Germany at IUCN, Tomme Young. In Brazil, Guilherme José Purvin de Figueiredo. Many others have alerted networks, and I apologize for not listing them here at this point. Obviously, we cannot be certain of the motive behind Jojo’s assassination until all evidence is collected, but the threats to him and Tony Oposa have certainly been all too real. Tony has made the protection of the Visayan (Sula Sulawesi) Marine Triangle the focus of his work at this stage in his life. How important is that to all of us? A recent opinion piece… Read more »

Professor John E. Bonine
Professor John E. Bonine

has more background information.

Soon I hope to have the non-English versions on that page.

John Bonine

Professor of Law

University of Oregon

USA

Professor John E. Bonine
Professor John E. Bonine