More than four decades ago, a press statement as this cannot be released or published online or in print. Anyone who did so ran the risk of being branded as a terrorist, a rebel, or a criminal for inciting to sedition.
More than four decades ago, a surge of raids, arrests based on trumped up charges, illegal searches and seizures, killings, curtailment of freedoms and basic rights, and suppression of any contrary opinion were ushered in by a savage tyrant. Human beings we objectified as mere “quotas” for their daily arrests.
More than four decades ago, the infamous dictator, Ferdinand Marcos, would declare martial law based on Communist insurgency, unable to control his dwindling popularity among the masses, unable to defend himself from countless attacks on his anti-people policies.
In full Marcosian fashion, President Rodrigo Duterte has replicated the same reason for declaring a “crackdown”, and in all probability, will replicate the same style of weeding out his dissenters and disregarding the value of basic human rights in order to retain political control. Proud of being a fascist and a dictator, the Duterte dictatorship might even be worse.
In less than two years, Duterte has achieved thrice the number of extrajudicial killings committed by any of his predecessors in a year. Since his proclamation, more than 90 farmers have been killed in the name of counterinsurgency programs. Tens of thousands have fallen victim of the war on drugs. The attacks on lumad schools have been intensified with the declaration of martial law in the entire Mindanao. Communities in Marawi and Batangas have been forced to evacuate due to air strikes committed by Philippine forces themselves. Through Proclamation No. 360, Duterte has also formally declared the termination of the peace talks with CPP-NPA-NDF. Revolutionaries are branded as terrorists. Even government officials who dare oppose the administration’s policies are in danger of being prosecuted and publicly shamed. Even without a formal announcement of his self-proclaimed revolutionary government, he has already placed the country in de facto martial law. The subsequent declaration will only serve to legitimize and strengthen his strong-arm rule.
If anything, Duterte’s crackdown is a crackdown of his own doing. For him to use the branding of a “revolutionary” government in order to support his own coup is a mockery of the revolution itself.
It is a crackdown backed by other imperialist powers that wish to take advantage of the volatility of the political situation in our country. Like how a master holds the leash of his dog, United States President Donald Trump’s nod for counterinsurgency and anti-terrorism programs served as reassurance for Duterte’s own policies. It is noticeable how the surge in human rights violations, including air strikes in Batangas and the daily arrest of members of progressive groups have occurred right after their first and intimate meeting during the ASEAN summit.
KABATAAN Partylist denounces in the strongest terms Duterte’s plan to install his own “revolutionary” government — a government built on lies, violence, brutality, and self-inflicted destruction. As an easy alternative for him to declare nationwide martial law and, eventually, put all government branches and existing institutions under his control, there is no other option for us but to use all our strength in resisting his tyrannical rule. To sit idly, silently, and passively in times like this is a conducive situation for Duterte to finally realize his greatest desire: to be a dictator — loud and proud.
In a struggle that has lasted for centuries, the Filipino people have asserted and fought against odds for their democratic rights and freedoms. From taking their grievances to the streets to taking up arms, from braving the heat and cold to rains of bullets, from being victims of trumped up charges to being tortured or killed in cold blood — this is the cost of a revolution. This is how a revolution is won.
Decisively, we call on the youth to be vanguards of the fight against tyranny. 45 years ago, the youth was one of the primary forefronts of the campaign to oust Marcos. The situation is no different today. We owe it to the martyrs of martial law, the victims of extrajudicial killings, and the future of the country.
Together, we shall ride against the tide controlled by paid trolls, cronies, and lapdogs. We shall pound on every literal and figurative wall created by the Duterte administration to divide our forces. We shall defy any attempt to reduce our rights into trivial matters to be ignored and trampled upon. We shall fight for genuine change. We shall resist the crackdown.