Statement of AGHAM-Advocates of Science and Technology for the People | February 12, 2021

Defend our people’s scientist, drop the trumped-up charges against Boyette Jurcales Jr!

We strongly condemn the harassment against one of AGHAM-Advocates of Science and Technology for the People’s Convenor, Engr. Boyette Jurcales Jr. We were aghast when we heard that Boyette, as we fondly call him, along with 10 other individuals have been filed with trumped-up charges of murder. He was not notified about the preliminary investigation of the case and was not even subpoenaed to attend the said investigation. His rights were violated when the court immediately issued the warrant of arrest when he was not given the chance to be heard via a preliminary investigation.

We believe these trumped up charges are meant to stifle dissent and silence activists who are opposing the anti-people and anti-environment policies of the current corrupt and repressive administration of Duterte. Under this administration, the Philippines has sadly become known as one of the most dangerous places for activists. In 2018, the Philippines was regarded as the most lethal country for environmental defenders. [1-3]

Boyette, who has a BS Industrial Engineering degree has a long record of advocating for the interest of the people and protection of the environment. He had put to good use his technical expertise as an engineer in helping communities affected by the plunder of resources and environmental pollution.

In 1996, he joined an environmental investigative mission organized by Center for Environmental Concerns to look into the impacts of the infamous Marcopper mining disaster which happened on March 24, 1996 that spilled 1.6 million cubic meters of highly toxic mine tailings. The Marinduque mining disaster polluted the Boac River with toxic chemicals from the mine tailings which flooded the farmlands and villages. This incident brought misery to the communities whose residents suffered from various diseases caused by the toxins that contaminated their environment and food supply even up to this day. [4-5]

Boyette saw the need to unite with other patriotic engineers and scientists and actively participated in the formation of AGHAM in 1999. He offered his time and technical knowledge in several educational and research activities of AGHAM and other environmental organizations he worked with.

In 2000, he joined a group of scientists headed by Dr. Aloysius Baes in a toxicity pathway research in the former US military base in Angeles, Pampanga. At the time, the toxic wastes left by US military forces in the area had been causing toxic-related diseases and birth defects among the population of communities adjacent to the former US Clark Air Base. [6-7]

He also actively participated in the successful campaign against the revival of the mothballed Bataan Nuclear Power Plant during the administrations of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and President Benigno Aquino Jr. [8-9]

These are just a few of Boyette’s contributions as a social activist, people scientist, and environmental defender.

We demand the dropping of trumped-up charges against our people scientist. We enjoin everyone to defend Boyette Jurcales Jr. #


References
[1] Rina Chandran, Philippines is Asia’s deadliest country for land activists, say rights groups, July 25, 2018, URL: https://www.reuters.com/…/us-philippines-landrights-crime-i…
[2] Scott Simon (NPR), The Dangers Of Environmental Activism In The Philippines, August 3, 2019, URL: https://www.npr.org/…/the-dangers-of-environmental-activism…
[3] Maartje Hilterman, Dangerous red-tagging of environmental defenders in the Philippines, December 15, 2020, URL: https://www.iucn.nl/…/dangerous-red-tagging-of-environmenta…
[4] Nikko Dizon, The Marcopper mine spill and the unending wait for justice, April 3, 2019, URL: https://verafiles.org/…/marcopper-mine-spill-and-unending-w…
[5] Nikko Dizon, The Marcopper disaster: A tragedy that continues in people’s veins, April 3, 2019, URL: https://verafiles.org/…/marcopper-disaster-tragedy-continue…
[6] Zelda Dela Trinidad Soriano, Clark Officials Hiding Truth About New Dangers of Toxic Wastes?, URL: https://www.bulatlat.com/…/019clark_officials_hiding_truth.…
[7] Travis J. Tritten, Decades later, U.S. military pollution in Philippines linked to deaths, November 7, 2009, URL: https://www.stripes.com/…/decades-later-u-s-military-pollut…
[8] Ronalyn V. Olea, Alliance Formed vs Revival of Nuke Plant, February 16, 2009, URL: https://www.bulatlat.com/…/alliance-formed-vs-revival-of-n…/
[9] Janess Ann J. Ellao, Reliving and Reviving ’85 Welgang Bayan: Move to Open Bataan Nuclear Plant Opposed, June 29, 2009, URL: https://www.bulatlat.com/…/reliving-and-reviving-85-welgan…/

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