Palawan prelate decries killing of forest ranger

Palawan prelate decries killing of forest ranger

The body of Bienvinido Severino Veguilla Jr., who was hacked to death by suspected illegal loggers in El Nido Palawan on Sept. 4. PHOTO FROM PNP-MIMAROPA

By Katya A. Santos

September 8, 2019

Puerto Princesa City

A Catholic bishop has condemned the killing of a government forest ranger while trying to arrest suspected illegal loggers in Palawan province.

Bishop Socrates Mesiona of Puerto Princesa expressed sadness that the man had to be killed for doing his job.

“It tells us that protecting our environment can be risky and dangerous,” Bishop Mesiona said.

Bienvinido Severino Veguilla Jr, 44, was hacked to death by six suspected illegal loggers in El Nido on Sept. 4.

The prelate also lamented that killing took place as the Church celebrates September as the “Season of Creation”.

“It is unfortunate that the attack on his life happened when we in the church are celebrating the month of creation,” he said.

“May his death not go in vain but awaken our resolve to preserve the environment,” the bishop added.

In September 2017, a member of the Protected Area board and barangay chair of Villa Libertad in El Nido, was shot and killed while arresting suspected illegal loggers.

Forester Joselito Eyala was also shot and wounded by a suspected timber poacher while his team was patrolling the mountains of Bacungan village in August 2017.

Global Witness, an international nongovernmental organization, earlier reported that the Philippines is the most dangerous country for environmental activists.

According to its 2018 annual report, 30 of the 164 killings of land and environmental activists worldwide happened in the southeast Asian nation. CBCPNEWS