As the world commemorates the International Human Rights Day, we press President Rodrigo Duterte to immediately stop his regime’s heightening attacks against the people through his bloody ‘War on Drugs,’ the continuation of internal security scheme Oplan Bayanihan, and his government’s synchronized and unwavering effort to rehabilitate the image of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
Today, the youth marches with human rights advocates, families of political detainees, and various sectors of society to denounce the trail of blood and intensified suffering left behind by the government’s pursuit of fascist assaults against various sectors of society.
Almost six months into the Duterte administration, we have seen how the new regime has come out on full attack mode – from supposed drug-related raids and killings that has victimized hundreds of innocent civilians, to the treatment of political prisoners as mere trump cards in a high-level game supposedly in pursuit of peace, and down to the intensification of Oplan Bayanihan whose deceptive character has enabled it to penetrate remote towns and communities, leading to more cases of human rights violations committed against peasants and indigenous peoples.
If the killings, the militarization of communities, and the traitorous treatment of the peace process continue unabated, it will prove that this regime is no different from past murderous regimes; that this regime is not seeking genuine change, but is reverting to the reign of state fascism to consolidate power.
So far, we can say, if Duterte has been successful in anything at all, it is in violating all forms of human rights – depriving thousands of the right to decent living, and continuing to take innocent lives and incarcerate critics.
Today, we call on the President not to let his administration become the crucible of human rights violations – the very symbol of terror. He should stop the flood of blood due to his war on drugs; he should stop the implementation of Oplan Bayanihan; he should stop glorifying Marcos; and he should not use political prisoners as bargaining chips on the peace negotiating table, but rather let the roots of the armed conflicts be resolved.
Today, we march to the streets not only to denounce Duterte’s imprudent acts against the people but also to show that the Filipino people will not just stand and watch as our rights continue to be eroded. Today, we march to show how our collective rage can fight and defeat this budding reign of terror.###