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Journalist threatened with death following report about mining threat to forest

(CMFR/IFEX) - 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 threatening 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."

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 issue of the "Philippine Daily 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 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." "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 "Philippine Daily Inquirer". The management, 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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