They Took On the Philippines’ Powerful Mining Interests, and Are Paying With Their Lives

They Took On the Philippines’ Powerful Mining Interests, and Are Paying With Their Lives
A young protester holds a placard during an anti-mining rally in the financial district of Makati, south of Manila, Philippines, April 23, 2007 (AP photo by Aaron Favila).

Editor’s Note: In July 2019, this story won the Kevin Carmody Award for Outstanding In-depth Reporting, Small Market from the Society of Environmental Journalists.

This is the first installment of a two-part series on killings of environmental activists in the Philippines, funded by WPR’s International Reporting Fellowship. The second installment ran Oct. 18.

COMPOSTELA VALLEY, MINDANAO, Philippines—It was just after dawn on the southern island of Mindanao, but police officers already had a call to respond to. Winding their way through the scenic green mountains of the Compostela Valley, they approached the scene of the crime, a patch of dirt on the side of a highway. But when they got there, they found no witnesses, and no sign of the perpetrator. All they could see was a sack of corn, its contents spilled across the road, stained red with blood.

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