The House of Representatives is rushing to change the 1987 Constitution in order to impose a Federalized system of government that will institutionalize President Duterte’s authoritarian regime- despite an increasing number of Filipinos opposed to Chacha (Charter change). In a recent survey of Pulse Asia, Filipinos are more concerned with their health, labor contractualization (ENDO), and increased prices of food, transportation, electricity, water and petrol due to the TRAIN law. The survey also revealed there is very little public knowledge or understanding about Federalism.
We, the organisations named below, make this statement to express our serious alarm about the widespread arbitrary arrests of children taking place throughout the Philippines under the ‘Oplan Tambay’ project of the Philippine government.
We note that President Duterte issued a directive that children found loitering be arrested for their protection, even if they have not committed any crime.(1) We further note that in the execution of Oplan Tambay in Cebu Province, minors violating curfew ordinances have been the largest group arrested.(2) We note that in the City of Manila, there is a drive to achieve ‘zero street children’ which is leading to large numbers of children being arbitrarily removed from public spaces.(3)
Labour Secretary Silvestre Bello’s meeting with the Filipino community in Geneva, Switzerland was abruptly cancelled when civil society groups petitioned the authorities of the Université Ouvrière de Genève (UOG) composed of trade union organisations to reconsider its decision to have the event organised by the POLO at the University auditorium.
In a letter to the University authorities, the Geneva Forum for Philippine Concerns (GFPC) appealed to the directors of the university to reconsider the authorisation for the meeting and cancel the event. They said, “As the UOG is a worker’s university that was founded on social justice and equality, -- to allow a representative of the Duterte government which has been accused for crimes against humanity would only bring the UOG's name into bad repute and would only serve to legitimize this tyrannical and brutal regime”.
An Athens-based Filipino migrant group, KASAPI HELLAS- the Union of Filipino Migrant Workers in Greece expressed its support to GFPC. It said in its letter to UOG, “We fully agree with the content of the letter of Geneva Forum for Philippine Concerns. Indeed, the tragic situation in the Philippines is a matter of grave concern of all peoples, who care for justice, workers’ human rights. We believe that hosting Sec. Bello, who represents a repressive regime will be grossly inconsistent with the values and principles adhered to by the UOG”.
In Defense of Human Rights and Dignity Movement (iDEEFEND) condemns in the strongest terms the attempt to remove Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes A. Sereno, in an unconstitutional process which undermines the rule of law and abrogates the role of Congress and the Senate in an impeachment and trial process respectively.