By ALDWIN QUITASOL
BAGUIO CITY — The Ilocos Network for the Environment (Defend Ilocos) condemns and calls for a stop to the harassment and surveillance of one of its leaders by suspected state security agents.
Defend Ilocos, in a statement said that its regional coordinator, Sherwin de Vera has been tailed by unidentified men on Tuesday, July 18 while he was going doing some errands around Vigan City in Ilocos Sur. The following day the group said, unidentified men believed to be military agents went to the University of the Northern Philippines (UNP) in Vigan and asked De Vera’s whereabouts from the people he visited earlier.
De Vera on his social media account said that harassment and intimidation against him by state forces have been relentless. He said that the infrormation fro his family anf friends at UNP confirmed his hunch that he was being tailed on July 18.
“This is one of the reasons why terrorist like Dawla Islamiyah gets away under the authorities noses. Instead of using their time and funds to stop criminal elements, they are aiming their guns and money against political dissenters and truth seekers,” De Vera said.
“No wonder, the Philippines is the second most dangerous place for journalist and environmental defenders,” he added.
De Vera writes a column for Nordis, the Ilocandia Rumblings (click here to view his latest column).
Defend Ilocos is an environmental group aims to coordinate and facilitate the protection of Ilocos region’s environment. The group was one of the environmentalist organizations and groups who led the opposition to the black sand mining activities in the coastal areas and extractive mining applications in the interior parts of the Ilocos region.
Its regional coordinator de Vera, is also active in helping in the struggle of the Ilocos farmers for the upliftment of their economic as well as political rights.
De Vera said they will file appropriate complaints at the office of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) and the Joint Monitoring Committee (JMC) of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and the Government of the Philippines (GPh) within the month. # nordis.net