Global activist Greta Thunberg stands with Masungi

Global activist Greta Thunberg stands with Masungi

/ 05:42 AM April 27, 2024

Global activist Greta Thunberg stands with Masungi

A group of visitors experiences nature through a trek in a section of Masungi Georeserve in Baras, Rizal. —NIÑO JESUS ORBETA/INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

“Save Masungi.”

Swedish environmental activist and Nobel Peace Prize nominee Greta Thunberg on Friday expressed her support for embattled Masungi Georeserve Foundation Inc. (MGFI) in its effort to remain as the caretaker of 2,700-hectare reserve in Tanay, Rizal.


READ: Police to beef up Masungi Georeserve protection, security


“I stand with Masungi Georeserve. World leaders should save good biodiversity areas and hold large corporations accountable rather than silencing environmental defenders,” Thunberg said in a video message shared by Masungi on Facebook. Thunberg’s backing came as the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) moves to cancel the 2017 memorandum of agreement (MOA) which assigns the reserve as a “perpetual land of trust” under the care of MGFI for conservation and reservation.

“Thunberg’s support underscores the critical need for collective action against destructive interests and serves as a resounding appeal for supporting effective climate action initiatives such as the Masungi Georeserve,” MGFI said in a statement on Friday.

READ: But what about Masungi?

Thunberg joins the list of personalities and government officials supporting Masungi. Some of them include actress Nadine Lustre, P-pop boy group SB19’s Justin de Dios, Sen. Nancy Binay, Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte, Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto, environment lawyer Gerthie Mayo-Anda, and advocates Rissa Mananquil Trillo, Celine Murillo and Mitzi Jonelle Tan.

The MGFI’s reforestation of the reserve has been praised by both local and international environment groups. They have also actively called out illegal occupants and loggers to preserve the land despite their rangers being repeatedly attacked by hired agents of the encroachers.

Leadership issues

Despite this, the DENR early this month said it plans to cancel the MOA on the grounds of being “void” and “unconsitutional” based on the opinion of the Department of Justice. But the MGFI said only the courts can cancel the MOA or determine its actual length of effectivity.


As of April, the MOA is still in effect.

On Wednesday, MGFI along with other environmental groups like Balagbag Environmental Society, Philippine Misereor Partnership, Sibuyanons Against Mining and Zambales Ecological Society called on DENR Secretary Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga to either get her environmental priorities straight or resign.

Representatives of the groups raised numerous issues with Yulo-Loyzaga’s leadership of the DENR such as allowing companies to conduct destructive ore and sand mining, illegal logging, destructive private constructions in protected areas in Rizal, Zambales, and Bulacan, Eastern Samar, and other provinces.

This also came after the DENR threw several allegations against Blue Star Construction and Development Corp., MGFI’s parent company, such as accusing it of billing the government P1.2 billion for “undelivered lands” and accused MGFI of not having the right government permits.

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But Billie Dumaliang, trustee of the MGFI, clarified that Blue Star only sent the statement of account to compel the government to act as Blue Star has been forced to shoulder the government’s responsibility of handling legal battles against illegal encroachers.

TAGS: Greta Thunberg, Masungi Georeserve

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