Friday, 18 August 2017
For lack of a credible answer to the persistence of drug trafficking and corruption among his men, President Duterte responds once again with the usual threats of violence and death to human rights defenders. After a year and thousands of victims of extrajudicial killings, drugs continue to flow into the country, and even implicating the President’s own family in connection with local and foreign drug lords.
Last week Duterte admitted that the drug problem cannot be solved singlehandedly by a President in one term, a claim that validated human rights groups’ warning that the drugs issue require thorough and long-term approaches to poverty and corruption. Yet the killings continue, the latest of which reported 32 victims in Bulacan and 29 in Manila. Impunity is at an all-time high, with police personnel like Marvin Marcos, suspect in the murder of Albuera Mayor Espinosa, re-instated and promoted.
The government’s “kill, kill, kill” policy is on a “second wave”, this time attended by an extended Martial Law in Mindanao, deeper economic crises, a charter change process, and the future installation of a new dictator to crush what is sure to be the next public upheaval, when the people realize that no real change has come and that Duterte basically props up the same graft-ridden system of elite rule that has delivered empty promises again and again.
We have seen the demise of one administration after another, as we will see the end of this one, unmasked by its own violent political dispensation and contempt for the rule of law. Long after the people have done away with the Duterte regime, human rights defenders will still be here, stronger and better, because the work for human rights is universal and timeless, shaped by the lessons of humanity, supported by generations of good, thinking people .
So the human rights community stands steadfast against Duterte’s threats, attacks by his trolls and bots, and vilification by his allies.
We reiterate our demand for an end to the brutal war against the poor, a complete overhaul of the anti-drugs paradigm, accountability for the perpetrators of extrajudicial killings, torture and enforced disappearance, and a rights-based approach to inclusive development that eliminates inequality in our society and promotes justice and dignity for all.