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Statement on the Formal Launch of the Global Days of Action in Defense of the Right to Life

Friday, 1 December 2017

Today iDEFEND launches 10 days of Global Action in Defense of the Right to Life, culminating on December 10th, human rights day. It does so with trepidation in the midst of fierce and relentless mobilizations towards a so-called revolutionary government or “revgov” by supporters of President Duterte.

The process by which it is being pushed is highly suspect. RevGov movers first attempted to mobilize last February 25, barely a year into Duterte’s presidency. Using 4Ps beneficiaries, the DILG and DSWD seem to be leading the effort. That the “revgov” would result in the removal of all government positions, abolish the Constitution and concentrate power into the hands of one man throws us back to the demolition job of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, whose despotic rule left no democratic institution standing.

But the most sinister plot behind “revgov” is the forcible installment of Federalism, which neither our people nor our legislative and judicial branches of government had a chance to scrutinize much less debate about. The campaign by pro-Duterte organizations also presses the enforcement of an Internal Security Act on top of already existing State of National Emergency and Martial Law in Mindanao. It is because they correctly anticipate severe public protests in the wake of forced Federalism that they are willing to quash any opposition to it.

The “revgov” supporters claim that Philippine society is unredeemable and that a total collapse of its democratic institutions and processes would save us all. Yet they say nothing of the oligarchs and corporate driven policies still impacting on the lives of the poor, or that Duterte himself is an oligarch and part of the ruling elite. REVGOV sounds no less like an amphetamine-driven push for dictatorship. It seeks unbounded power, unaccountable to no one but himself.

President Duterte is adamant that he does not need human rights to rule, never mind that the very problems he cites result from the lack of human rights compliance by his own administration. Now he bastardizes the concept of ‘revolution’ to fit his foul political ambitions. If they failed to muster the numbers yesterday, they will try again; they will keep going to the streets to undermine the legitimate agenda of the people; they will keep forcing Federalism down our throats.

As human rights defenders our path is clear. We shall oppose all efforts to return to dictatorship. We continue to vehemently oppose Duterte’s killing machine-the war on drugs, death penalty, the lowering of the minimum age of criminal responsibility.

We will meet every ‘revgov’ rally with a march of our own. We will continue to act with the workers, farmers, women, indigenous people, the youth, migrants, rural &LGBT communities—the real carriers of change. We will continue to assert a rights-based governance.