environmental conservation

2 Masungi Georeserve rangers shot in the head, neck

Rambo Talabong

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2 Masungi Georeserve rangers shot in the head, neck

ENDANGERED. Two Masungi Georeserve rangers at the hospital after being attacked on Saturday, July 24.

Masungi Georeserve

(1st UPDATE) The Rizal police count one culprit, who remains to be unidentified and at-large

Two forest rangers of the Masungi Georeserve in Rizal were shot in the head and the neck on Saturday, July 24. The motive for the attack is still unknown.

In a Facebook post, the project’s administration reported that their rangers were shot at around 9 pm on Saturday at a reforestation area near GSB Resort in Baras town, Rizal.

“One ranger was shot in the head and the other was shot in the neck. They are now being treated with first aid and are preparing [to] transfer to another hospital,” it said.

In the police report obtained by Rappler, the two were identified as Melvin Akmad and Kukan Maas. Akmad was wounded in the head, while Maas, in the neck.

The police counted one culprit, who remains to be unidentified and at-large.

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The reserve condemned the act of violence, saying, “We are devastated and enraged by this heinous act of violence and attempted murder against forest defenders.”

The reserve also called on the police to protect them, noting that it was not the first time that their rangers encountered harassment and violence.

The rangers have been transferred to the Quirino Memorial Medical Center as of Sunday morning, July 25.

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The incident was also confirmed to Rappler by Rizal provincial police chief Colonel Joseph Arguelles.

In a phone interview, Arguelles said they could not deploy security as of Sunday morning because they have not been able to gather testimonies from Masungi’s staffers.

“They are still waiting for an order before speaking with us,” Arguelles told Rappler.

In a text message to Rappler, Billie Dumaliang, the managing trustee of Masungi, said that some of their staffers have offered testimonies to the police. However, the injured rangers, she said, needed to be treated for their injuries first before speaking with law enforcers. – Rappler.com

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Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.