Philippines: Alarming number of fatal attacks against environmental defenders related to agribusiness, mining & logging

The new Global Witness report denounces that in 2018, 30 land and environmental defenders were killed in the Philippines, making it the country with the highest number of such killings in the world. Their new investigation shows that mining, agribusiness, logging and coal plants are driving attacks against environmental activists. The report claims that brands such as Del Monte Philippines and Dole Philippines, and Filipino-based San Miguel Corporation were linked to local partners accused of attacks and murders of protestors. Business & Human Rights Resource Centre wrote to companies & private investors mentioned in the report. We received responses from Dole Philippines, Del Monte Philippines,  Itochu, and Standard Chartered. JPMorgan Chase responded, but declined to comment. We attempted get in touch with the representatives of Seafront, but could not. We are in the process of inviting San Miguel to respond. 

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Company response
9 October 2019

Itochu responded

Download the full document here

Company response
8 October 2019

Del Monte Philippines responded

Del Monte Philippines, Inc. (Del Monte) categorically denies a report issued by Global Witness implying inappropriate business behaviour. There is no grain of truth in the false allegations that Del Monte was involved in the incidents described in the report. Del Monte regrets that its comprehensive response to the allegations was not included in the Global Witness press release nor has Global Witness had the courtesy of providing Del Monte with an advance copy of the report.  Del Monte vigorously promotes the welfare of stakeholders across its global supply chain and enjoins its partners to do the same. In any event, Del Monte had discontinued the contract with the grower not long after the reported date of those incidents.

Company response
8 October 2019

Dole Philippines responded

Download the full document here

Company non-response
8 October 2019

JPMorgan Chase did not respond

JPMorgan declined to comment.

Article
8 October 2019

Standard Chartered responded

Standard Chartered Bank has already made a stand in September 2018 to stop financing coal power plants, except where there is an existing commitment. We will only proceed in projects provided they meet the Bank’s lending criteria.

Standard Chartered believes that the financial sector has an important role to play helping our clients to find more sustainable sources of power and bring about the low-carbon future. We are committed to work with our clients in the utility sector to help them to reduce their dependence on coal, switching to low carbon and clean energy. 

Our aim has always been to balance the need for reliable energy for development alongside the impact on the environment. We are committed to being transparent and working with all relevant stakeholders to build our understanding of climate change related risks and opportunities, and we will continue to support our clients whilst helping them to demonstrate clear participation in the low-carbon transition.

The Bank is also committed to due diligence on human rights impacts associated with the financial services we provide. Where there is potential for human rights impacts to exist in clients’ operations or supply chain, we expect clients to provide evidence of adequate policies and processes to manage human rights risks in their operations or supply chain.”

Please also see a link to our position statements, which will give you more detail on how we manage environmental and social risk.

https://www.sc.com/en/sustainability/position-statements/

Article
1 October 2019

Defending the Philippines: Environmental activists at the mercy of business at all costs

Author: Global Witness

Violence against land and environmental defenders is a systemic problem, spanning many different regions of the country and many different industries, and the army uses force to silence activism. 52 defenders have been killed extra-judicially in the last three years... Indigenous leader Renato Anglao was murdered in Bukidnon after leading some protests against the violations of indigenous rights by ranchers doing business with the international ‘agri-giants’, like former Del Monte Consultant Lorenzo. In Palawan, Ruben Arzaga, member of a group opposing the illicit hardwood logging fueled by the surge in boutique hotels, was the twelfth murdered in less than two decades. Other defenders have been threatened by local businessmen. In Compostela Valley, a farmers’ association leader, Jimmy Saypan, was murdered after protesting against the illegal activities of a gold and silver mine linked to San Miguel Corporation, headed by Duterte donor Ang. Others members have been imprisoned or harassed by the army. In Bataan, following Gloria Capitan’s murder, community activists are threatened for opposing a toxic coal-power plant imposed without proper consultation, controlled by San Miguel Corporation, and backed by Standard Chartered and the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation... In none of these cases has justice been done...[Refers also to Dole, Itochu, JP Morgan Chase & Seafront].

Read the full post here