By Genalyn Kabiling
Malacañang has expressed concern over the reports the country has become the world’s most dangerous place for land and environmental rights activists.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo acknowledged that killings sometimes occur due to the vicious rivalry between land claimants.
“Well, that happens. If there are conflicts among claimants of a particular land, killings occur because of the viciousness of the rivalry between the claimants,” he said during a Palace press briefing.
Asked if the report was a cause for concern for the government, Panelo said: “Let me tell you that the government will always be concerned with respect to any violence inflicted against the citizens of this country, whether done by outside forces or by those inside this country.”
A rights group called Global Witness recently issued a report naming the Philippines as the deadliest place for land defenders after 30 people were killed while defending their homes and lands last year.
The list also reportedly included Colombia with 24 deaths, India with 23, and Guatemala with 16 killings related to land rights.