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Caritas Philippines, the development and advocacy arm of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), expresses its outrage and condemnation over the brutal abduction of environmental defenders Francisco “Eco” Dangla III and Axielle “Jak” Tiong, leaders of the Pangasinan People Strike for the Environment Inc. (PPSEI) and members of the Ecology Ministry of the Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan, in San Carlos City, Pangasinan.

“This violent act against Mr. Dangla and Mr. Tiong, who selflessly dedicate their lives to protecting our environment, is a flagrant assault on us all,” declared Caritas Philippines Vice President Bishop Gerardo Alminaza. “We will not tolerate silencing those who bravely fight for a sustainable future.”

Caritas Philippines demands immediate action from the Marcos Jr. administration.

“President Marcos must direct all available resources towards locating Eco and Jak,” Bishop Alminaza emphasized. “Their safety is paramount. We demand a swift and thorough investigation to bring the perpetrators to justice.”

Beyond the immediate crisis, Caritas Philippines reiterates its unwavering support for the Human Rights Defenders Protection Act.

“This legislation is no longer a luxury, but a necessity,” Bishop Alminaza asserted. “Environmental defenders and human rights advocates, like these leaders from PPSEI, deserve the shield of law from threats, harassment, and violence.”

Caritas Philippines condemns the abhorrent practice of red-tagging, which demonizes and endangers activists.

“We call on all authorities to cease this malicious tactic,” Bishop Alminaza implored. “Let us foster a climate of respect and dialogue, not fear and repression.”

Caritas Philippines extends unwavering solidarity to the families and friends of Dangla and Tiong.

“We stand with you in this agonizing time,” offered Bishop Alminaza. “Caritas Philippines will remain a relentless voice for those who fight to protect our environment and secure a just and sustainable future for all.”