Friends of Earth International strongly condemns the brutal murder of environmental lawyer Mia Manuelita Cumba Masacariñas-Green on February 15, 2017. Mia as she was fondly known, was only 49 years old. She was assassinated in front of her 3 young children while driving them home in Tagbilaran, Bohol. Mia was also a board member of The Environmental Legal Assistance Centre (ELAC).
As a passionate and devoted lawyer specialising in environmental crimes, Mia handled both civil and criminal cases. She was as an environmental lawyer for the Alternative Law Groups (ALG), of which LRC/Friends of the Earth Philippines is also a member.
The police investigation resulted in a manhunt against 2 suspected gunmen. Police also identified a possible mastermind, reportedly the owner of a famous beach resort on one of the islands of Bohol in the Philippines. According to police reports, Mia was caught in a conflict between her client and the resort owner.
According to reports, Mia’s death brings the total number of environmental campaigners and human rights defenders murdered in the Philippines over the past 15 years to 112.
We send our condolences to and stand in solidarity with Mia’s family and ELAC. We urge the Philippines’ Government to urgently investigate this case and bring the perpetrators to justice.
In addition to the loss of many innocent lives, the families of those who have died, like Mia’s, have to live with the trauma of witnessing these murders. We urge all people, social movements and governments to put pressure on international institutions to condemn the extra judicial killings in the Philippines and to help put a stop to them.