Friday, 30 June 2017
In Rodrigo Duterte’s first year as president he has managed to destabilize not only his own country but the entire Asian region, first by entrenching impunity for the extermination of more than 12,000 Filipino citizens in his war on drugs; secondly, by demonizing human rights, trashing the rule of law, attacking foreign governments concerned with extrajudicial killings; thirdly by declaring a baseless and unfounded national state of emergency due to lawless violence, martial law in Mindanao and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, giving rise to more human insecurity.
President Duterte’s bloody war on drugs, waged on inaccurate calculations and faulty facts, enforced by corrupt, abusive, murderous PNP operatives, epitomizes the criminal character of this administration. It underlines the everyday violence already experienced by the people due to extreme poverty, landlessness, unemployment, war and displacement, and the shortage of housing and livelihood opportunities. These are the real crises of our nation, unsolved by killings, misogyny, vulgarity, junkets, threats, and covered up by an army of fake social media propaganda.
Meanwhile the President has abandoned Philippine territorial waters to China, which heightened tensions in the area, allowed for the dismissal of graft and corruption charges against close political allies, and oligarchs like the Marcos family continue to thrive. Promises to end contractual labor now betrayed, Duterte is also set to fail in his peace initiatives.
President Duterte cannot kill his way into progress. Everyone knows the work towards social justice, equality and inclusive development is a long, hard toil which require an environment of freedom, respect, democracy and the upliftment of the highest standards of human rights of every citizen. Today’s climate of fear, insecurity, war, and sexism can only indicate Duterte’s one-track agenda to barrel towards complete authoritarian rule.
Therefore we persist. Attempts to derail the people’s democratic rights and real participation in public governance will be met with dissent and protest. The people must be able to exact accountability for from the highest officials of the land, and end impunity once and for all. As human rights defenders we stand with the oppressed, vilified and marginalized people against the onslaught of the new oligarch-driven, neo-liberalist, puppet and pro-fascist ruler, Rodrigo Duterte.