Journalist gets death threat over mining story

CMFR/PHILIPPINES – A Palawan-based journalist was threatened with death on 3 April 2008 after he wrote that a mining company was blocking plans to declare a forest in Brooke’s Point, Palawan as a protected area. Palawan is an island southwest of Manila.

Redempto Anda, a Philippine Daily Inquirer correspondent and an editor for the local newspaper Palawan Star, received the threat through his mobile phone. The text message said that the person after him was protecting the interest of a certain “Kapitan” (Captain).

“Watch your back you have been tempting the gods! Don’t even think they will take it kindly that you are on a personal crusade against the KAPITAN,” the text message he received read.

Anda later received another message saying, “Be kind to an animal? Yes we will, through mercy killing! Good luck.”

The messages were sent through the mobile number 09267869353, which is now turned off.

Anda said in a phone interview that the threat came after his story on the plans of the mining company MacroAsia was published in the 1 April 2008 issue of the Inquirer.

Anda’s story said that MacroAsia, the flagship company of business tycoon Lucio Tan, was planning to launch a large-scale nickel mining project at Mt. Mantalingahan in Brooke’s Point, Palawan despite government plans of declaring it a protected area.

Anda quoted the Palawan NGO Network (PNNI) as saying that MacroAsia was “manipulating” some tribal leaders, who are members of and Brooke’s Point Federation of Tribal Councils, to stop the declaration of the mountain as a protected area.

Anda said the threat affected him in “a big way.” “Hindi muna ako susulat ng istorya sa mining (I won’t be writing stories on mining for the meantime),” he said.

After receiving the message, Anda immediately reported it to the local police as well as to the management of the Inquirer. The Inquirer, he said, has decided that he should “lie low for the meantime” on mining stories.

He also approached the management of MacroAsia regarding the threat he received. But, MacroAsia denied any involvement.

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