Fight Duterte terrorism to realize genuine human rights

Read in: Hiligaynon

Today, December 10, known globally as international human rights day, should be a cause for celebration by billions of people world-wide. This signifies a victory of the vast underprivileged and marginalized peoples to be seen, heard and respected. Sadly and ironically, this is not so because the majority of nations, states and governments which signed to observe human rights in their country and to respect their people are doing just the opposite.

The Philippines is a glaring reality of a fascist regime’s extreme and brutal violation of human rights against its own people. Ever since he came to power, Duterte has gained world-wide infamy as a crazy butcher killing more than 30,000 mostly poor individuals in his fake drug war and murdering hundreds of political activists mostly peasants, workers and urban poor. Desperate to crush the 52 years armed revolution led by the CPP, he has ordered the mercenary AFP and PNP to carpet bomb rural villages they suspect to be strongholds of the NPA in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. This followed after Duterte ordered total destruction of Marawi City on the pretext of suppressing the Maute group that attacked the city. The bombings have forced nearly a million people to evacuate and hundreds of thousands become internal refugees scattered homeless, jobless and hungry until now.

The year 2020 has been a banner year for state terrorism and fascism, outdoing Marcos’ martial law. On July 3 Duterte signed the “Anti-Terror Law”, passed by his rubber stamp Senate and Congress despite widespread opposition from the people, thus putting the country under veritable martial law. This led to a tremendous snowball of red-tagging and witch-hunting of political activists, opponents and critics. Even actresses and beauty queens were not spared for voicing out their opinions as ordinary Filipino citizens and taxpayers.

Yet even before the Terror Law, red-tagging and, worse, political killings have been on the rise, targetting leaders from the peasantry, trade unions, urban poor, human rights advocates including lawyers. Violating freedom of the press and expression, the vicious bully and tyrant Duterte shut down ABS-CBN on May 5 thru his licking dogs in the house of representatives. Prior to this, on March 16 Duterte imposed the world’s longest militarist lockdown nationwide in the guise of fighting the Covid-19 pandemic. He created the Inter-Agency Task Force headed by his favorite dull-brained and bigoted ex-generals in his Cabinet. These same generals also compose the junta-like NTF-ELCAC and Anti Terrorism Council under his Terror law.

The five-month nationwide lockdown forced 20 million Filipinos to be out of work, to beg for aid, relief or subsidy and to suffer real hunger and helplessness. Many women and children, mothers, daughters and even men were forced to resort to desperate measures including prostitution just to survive. Incidences of violence against women and children including rape rose and suicide cases reached a disturbing level.

Restrictions after restrictions were imposed by the medically ignorant and militarist IATF abetted by Duterte himself. From March to July, more than 150,000 have been arrested, beaten up by the police, shamed in public and others even killed just to impose the restrictions. All these were done with impunity and justified by orders of the blood-thirsty Duterte to shoot dead anyone who dares to complain or protest against the draconian measures. Despite widespread public clamor for mass testing for the Covid-19, it has only started to trickle in August. And in spite of it being supposedly ‘free’, people were made to pay for the test.

In Panay, amid the pandemic, in only 2 months (april 18-june 20) recorded human rights violations against civilians were: 4 killed by the 61st IB and state death squads, 11 illegally arrested and tortured by 61st IB, 42 illegally arrested by Iloilo City PNP, 2 abducted by 61st and 12th IB, 2 interrogated with physical abuse by 61st IB. Human rights abuses by the military ang police did not stop there. Violations continue to escalate especially in the countryside being perpetrated by the fascist state forces that conduct the so-called retooled community support program (RCSP). They are compelling barrio folks to ‘surrender’, declare the CPP-NPA-NDF as ‘persona non grata’, ‘rally’ against the CPP-NPA and threatening them “lifetime imprisonment” if they support or aid the revolutionary comrades. More than 100 barangays in 20 towns in the island’s 4 provinces have been in constant combat and strike operations by the mercenary fascist troops, causing fear among the masses and disturbing their peace. Leaders and members of legal democratic organizations are being harassed with death threats, are being stalked, maliciously tagged as ‘communists’ and terrorists and were issued warrants for trumped-up charges.

The criminal, negligent, incompetent and militarist handling of the Covid pandemic for almost a year now by the terrorist state is one panoramic violation of human rights. This has been gravely affecting the economic, political, cultural, and social rights of millions of Filipinos, while Duterte and his corrupt bureaucrats and generals, crony big compradors and landlords have padded their pockets more from funds of “Bayanihan” 1 and 2, overpriced infrastructure projects and military equipment. The callous president even shamelessly went on with the purchase of his luxurious jet plane, and the regime’s lending binge of trillions of pesos continues amid severe economic crisis being suffered by millions of Filipinos.

Aggravating and exploiting the people’s dire situation is the dictator’s imposition of de facto martial law nationwide to legalize the suppression and repression of any dissent, protest or opposition to his brutal anti-people policies, criminal acts and measures, and puppet submission to his US and Chinese imperialist masters. Turning the country into a military-police state under the dictate of one deranged president supersedes all other human rights violations.

Duterte’s crimes and abuses have been censured and criticized by international bodies such as the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, International People’s Tribunal, International Criminal Court and the European Parliament. The ILPS (International League of Peoples’ Struggles) has also been foremost among internatinal democratic and anti-imperialist organizations in condemning the fascism and terrorism of the US-Duterte regime.

Let us commemorate Human Rights Day by arduously persisting in the struggle against the Duterte dictatorship. Let no amount of killings, bombings, incarceration, torture and other abuses cow and subdue us to continue to fight this puppet fascist regime. Let our collective voices and actions move millions in order to frustrate the regime’s lust for absolute power and control over us.

Let us unite against the dictatorship so that we may realize the true assertion and the genuine respect and observance of human rights.

Fight Duterte terrorism to realize genuine human rights