A band of Philippine citizens have been confiscating chainsaws used to illegally harvest wood in one of the country’s few remaining “ecological frontiers” for the past 20 years because, they told The Guardian, no one, including the government, is up to the task.
The group calls themselves the Palawan NGO Network Inc., and it uses direct action and citizen’s arrest to slow down the environmental decline in the Filipino province of Palawan caused by illegal logging, mining and fishing.
“This should be the work of the government but they are not doing their job. Who else is going to stop this if we’re not here?” Efren Tata Balladares, a PNNI leader, told The Guardian.
The group has confiscated 700 chainsaws in two decades. In front of the PNNI headquarters right now is a “Christmas tree” made up of more than 100 chainsaws stacked two-stories high.
The raids that Balladares and other PNNI members lead are perilous. Twelve PNNI members have been murdered since 2001. The most recent death happened in September as a PNNI “para-enforcer” was shot while approaching an illegal logging site.
Read the full story in The Guardian.