January 29, 2023

The city council has requested the National Bureau of Investigation-Cordillera to investigate the death threats against a professor of the University of the Philippines Baguio.
This, as the city council unanimously approved a resolution penned by Councilor Arthur Allad-iw condemning the threat and harassment against Deign Frolley Soriano, a full-time biology professor of UP Baguio and a member of the World Wildlife Fund-Philippines.
Earlier, Soriano together with UPB Faculty Zenaida Baoanan, presented to the council their study on the impacts of cutting down the remaining pine trees in Baguio.
“Mr. Soriano’s shared information in the council is timely and important on the city’s environmental condition and vital to the public’s right to know,” Allad-iw said.
Soriano, who is also an active WWF-PH National Youth Council member, is a vocal critic of tree-cutting in the city. After their presentation to the council on July 13, he received a threatening text message: “Kung hndi nmin matumba mga puno, ikaw itu2xmba namin (If we cannot cut the trees, we’ll cut you down).”
On July 17, he received another text message that reads:“tgnan ntin kung ano mas mhalaga mga puno o ang pamilya mo (Let us see what is more important. The trees or your family).”
“The death threat, which he received after his presentation in the city council has a chilling effect not only to himself but also to those potential resource persons in the future who may be invited by the august body in aid of legislation,” reads the resolution.
“This cowardly act of sending anonymous text messages to environmental advocates is condemnable and must be stopped with the help of the National Bureau of Investigation to undertake investigation of the above incident and to bring the perpetrator/s of this illegal act to justice,” the resolution added.
The resolution was forwarded to the NBI for their appropriate action.
Soriano said he would not back down from these threats and those threatening the country’s rich biodiversity for their own selfish gains.
Soriano was also supported by the All UP Academic Employees Union-Baguio that also denounces the death threats against him.
“Mr. Soriano’s stand on the cutting of pine trees in Baguio is consistent with his research work on the environment and his being a student of the Master of Science in Conservation and Restoration Ecology,” the group stated. – Ofelia C. Empian