With a stronger resolve and renewed vigor, NDF – Negros amplifies call to stand and defend human rights on 72nd International Human Rights’ Day

Terror hovers over the entire country as violations of people’s rights worsen under the US-Duterte regime. We mark International Human Rights’ Day today with a stronger resolve and renewed vigor to amplify our call to stand and defend human rights.

State terrorism cloaks over the country and it is bound to worsen as Duterte continues his fascist rule. With the imposition of Memorandum Order 32 and Executive Order 70, it has become state policy to terrorize civilians. Through MO 32 and EO 70, the armed mercenaries of the regime were given free rein on widespread vilification, red-tagging and terrorist-labeling of people’s organizations and civil society to discredit their legitimate issues.

The passage of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 signals the same state policy that emboldens injustice and perpetuates repression. The aim of the Anti-Terrorism Act is to quell opposition and the revolutionary movement against the fascist US-Duterte regime. Terror will continue to engulf the country as state armed forces will continue to silence dissent, trample economic, civil and political rights, and kill unarmed civilians with impunity.

In Negros, 94 fell victim to extra-judicial killings. The regime’s atrocities include the cold-blooded murder of renowned human rights advocate Zara Alvarez in Bacolod City last August 17 and the intensified militarization of peasant communities in the countryside. The year 2020 also exposed the nature of the fascist mercenaries to retaliate against innocent civilians following their frustration and failure of chasing the NPA. The brutal decapitation of a farmer from Tan-awan, Kabankalan City, Bernardo Guillen – third victim of mutilation for this year alone demonstrates the barbarity of the rabid mercenary dogs.

The number of political prisoners in Negros also increased exponentially under the Duterte regime. There were only 5 political prisoners when Duterte assumed power in 2016 but four years into Duterte’s fascist rule and political prisoners in Negros now counts to more than 120.

We hold the Duterte administration responsible for perpetrating and emboldening vigilante-style killings. It is the tyrant Duterte who motivates death squads to make Negros a ‘killing field’. It is the fascist Duterte who tolerates the abuse of power by his bloodthirsty military and police force. We abhor wannabe-dictator Duterte for his complete disregard of due process and rule of law and for trampling our rights and civil liberties. The number one terrorist in this country is Duterte and his imperialist masters.

The Filipino youth are also deprived of the fundamental right to quality and accessible education as neoliberal policies continue to plague the Philippine education system. The Filipino students’ clamor for safe resumption of classes were unheard as the Duterte regime pushed through with the elitist mode of blended learning. The implementation of blended learning have proven to be a burden, not only to students but also to parents and teachers alike and caused financial, physical and mental distress.

The Filipino people’s right to public health is also undermined under the current regime. Duterte heavily relied on lockdowns and community quarantines instead of an organized health-centered response to the Covid19 pandemic. This has further aggravated the economic hardships of the toiling masses. Worst, Duterte used and abused the pandemic in order to corrupt the nation’s coffers and further sink the country to foreign loans and debt.

Duterte continues to undermine press freedom. First, he terrorized online news media Rappler and then shutdown the franchise of media mogul ABS-CBN. Independent media critical of the Duterte regime are harassed with libel cases or openly redtagged. The media is also not spared from the killings.

While Duterte shows his fangs against the struggling Filipinos, he is meek and compliant to foreign imperialist powers. Duterte is unable to assert Philippine sovereignty against China in the disputed mineral and marine-rich areas in the West Philippine Sea. Duterte is also subservient to US policy dictates and military cooperation.

Duterte has shut all avenues for democratic expression. The Duterte fascist regime’s open terrorist rule is absolute proof that the ruling class can no longer rule in the old way. The increase of deployed military and police battalions in Negros is a sign of Duterte’s desperation to pacify the ceaseless movement for national democracy. By waging a brutal war against the people, Duterte has roused the Filipino people to tread the path of resistance and intensify further their revolutionary armed resistance.

In this climate of terror, we gather our courage to fiercely resist Duterte’s fascist rule and end his reign of terror. The collective strength of the Filipino people will make Duterte accountable for his criminal negligence in the face of Covid19 pandemic and calamities and for his numerous crimes against the people. The people will intensify their armed resistance and advance the people’s war to victory!

With a stronger resolve and renewed vigor, NDF – Negros amplifies call to stand and defend human rights on 72nd International Human Rights’ Day