Philippines expresses outrage over logging ban murder
MANILA (AFP) - The Philippine government has voiced outrage at "ruthless" illegal loggers intent on defying a nationwide ban on destroying forests, following the New Year's Day murder of an environment officer.
Two unidentified men armed with M-16 rifles shot environment department officer Alfredo Almueda in the head as he waited at a forest checkpoint to intercept a truck carrying logs on Tuesday, the government said in a statement.
"We condemn in the strongest possible terms the killing of yet another environment officer. We are angered and outraged by the attack," Environment Secretary Ramon Paje said in the statement issued late on Wednesday.
Mr Paje said Mr Almueda, 59, was the victim of persistent efforts by illegal loggers to silence "environmental defenders".