Last 25 February 2017, Saturday, the Filipino people commemorated the 31st year since they successfully ousted the MARCOS dictatorship. It is sadly noted, however, that several presidents and campaign promises thereafter, fundamental and genuine change continue to elude them.

[Please find statements of Karapatan and IBON Foundation attesting to this as well as news reports and videos of the protest actions last Saturday below.]

On this occasion, the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP) reiterates its commitment to support the people’s clamor for fundamental change and to constantly accompany them in their journey towards just and lasting peace in the country.

Please support our latest campaign and sign on to the statement: Continue the peace talks, Firm up reforms:

Thank you.


Press Statement
February 25, 2017

Reference:      Cristina “Tinay” Palabay, Secretary General, 0917-3162831
Angge Santos, Media Liaison, 0918-9790580

After 31 years, people still clamor for fundamental change- Karapatan

Targeted political killings, the slate of illegal arrests of leaders and members of progressive organizations, intensified military operations in communities, a justice system that favors the rich and powerful, the continuing oppression of peasants and workers and the domination of US interests in the country remain as palpable realities, thirty one years after Edsa 1. Has this country really achieved change when repressive state policies continue? Have we really seen change when farmers remain landless, rights continue to be violated, and the Filipino people’s interest remain subjugated to imperialist powers?” asked Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay on the 31st commemoration of the EDSA people power.

“What we have seen in the years following the Marcos dictatorship are forms of repression, masked under the banner of democracy. Killings in the name of the war on drugs, the possible reimposition of the death penalty, the revival of the Philippine Constabulary and the military’s involvement in the war on drugs under the Duterte administration are more recent worrisome issues,” she stated.

“Scores of activists and revolutionaries who work for radical change continue to be targeted and the number of political prisoners remains on the rise,” Palabay continued.

Karapatan has documented 402 political prisoners in the country as of February 2017, 30 of them arrested under Duterte and 283 under BS Aquino III. “Even this practice of jailing activists and political dissenters has continued throughout the administrations after Marcos, tolerated and enabled by people who, given recent developments, are now at the end of this repressive State maneuver,” said Palabay.

Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile’s statement that there are no political prisoners is not surprising, coming from the mouthpiece of government narratives since Martial Law. “His efforts to delegitimize the struggles of activists and progressives through these kinds of statements are classic examples of the elite’s disdain for genuine change. His release on the basis of humanitarian grounds should have been accorded to the people who most deserve it – the political prisoners who have fought hard alongside the marginalized in this country,” Palabay said.

Karapatan also recounted that the conferment of hero’s honors on former dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr. is a betrayal of what the EDSA “people power” stood for. “The Filipino people toppled a dictator but the Supreme Court and Pres. Duterte allowed him a hero’s burial. On the other hand, the victims of the Marcos dictatorship have yet to be indemnified and the Marcos’ stolen wealth yet to be returned. This can only be the result of the shameless accommodation of the ruling elite to stay in power,’ said Palabay.

Aside from allowing a hero’s burial for Marcos, Duterte also cancelled the peace talks on February 3, 2017, ramped up the implementation of counter-insurgency program Oplan Kapayapaan with the military’s declaration of an all-out-war, and subsequently terminated the Joint Agreement on Security and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG). “Duterte won with his catchphrase ‘change is coming.’ We should thus demand and protest the Duterte administration’s unfulfilled promises. We strongly call on the President to stop the fascist attacks against the people and to continue the peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines,’ Palabay added.

“EDSA 1 showed how a dictator was ousted through the people’s collective strength and actions. As long as interests of imperialists, landlords and political clans continue to dominate, there is no doubt that the people will continue to struggle in all forms to achieve fundamental change,” Palabay concluded.

Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights
2nd Flr. Erythrina Bldg., #1 Maaralin corner Matatag Sts., Central District
Diliman, Quezon City, PHILIPPINES 1101
Telefax: (+63 2) 4354146

KARAPATAN is an alliance of human rights organizations and programs, human rights desks and committees of people’s organizations, and individual advocates committed to the defense and promotion of people’s rights and civil liberties.  It monitors and documents cases of human rights violations, assists and defends victims and conducts education, training and campaign.

3. IBON Foundation Philippines

IBON FEATURES / 26 February 2017
#114 Timog Ave. Quezon City/ 9276986/

Change? Not three decades after EDSA, not under PDP–IBON

The Philippines remains backward and underdeveloped with severe inequality 31 years after the so-called EDSA revolution, research group IBON said. The Duterte administration’s new Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022 will not change this, said the group, in continuing the failed neoliberal policies of the Marcos regime and all subsequent administrations.

EDSA 1986 was a repudiation of the Marcos dictatorship including economic crisis and gross inequality from neoliberal economic policies then pushed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank. The people mobilized in their millions to end not just the dictatorship but also economic crisis and gross inequality. This was clearly expressed in the 1987 Constitution, IBON noted, where nationalist economic provisions articulated the people’s aspirations for social justice and for a sovereign and independent economy.

According to IBON, these are among the promises of EDSA not met in the succeeding 31 years. There has not been any change and, instead, the economy has continued to deteriorate and worsen as a mere appendage of global capitalist powers exploiting our cheap labor, raw materials, and markets.

Domestic agriculture and Filipino industry are in terminal decline. From 1986 to 2016, the share of agriculture and manufacturing in Philippine gross domestic product (GDP ) has shrunk from 24.8% to 22. 8% and 17.1% to 8.4 percent, respectively. A few have prospered while the majority remain in severe poverty. At present, IBON estimates 2 of 3 Filipinos surviving on only Php125 or less per day, while official poverty statistics indicate 21.9 million living on a very low poverty threshold of Php60 per day.

The Duterte administration’s new Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2017-2022 unfortunately continues the failed neoliberal policies started by Marcos in the late 1970s and followed by all the administration’s that came after it. In final controvertion of the promises of EDSA, it also seeks to remove the important nationalist provisions of the 1987 Constitution. The economy and the people will suffer the worst for this even as domestic elites and foreign monopoly capitalist powers continue to prosper, IBON said.

The PDP 2017-2022 of the government’s neoliberal economic managers adopts the same market-oriented framework of the policies that have failed to develop the Philippine economy. Like past administrations, it gives premium to luring in foreign direct investments, spending on infrastructure, strengthening public-private partnerships (PPP) that channel public funds to private gain, and implementing a fiscal program that relieves the rich while taxing the poor more. On the other hand it is silent on measures for real national development such as free land distribution and Filipino industrialization, decent jobs and wages, and free or affordable social services, said IBON.

The nationalist economic aspirations from EDSA are still relevant and if anything have been affirmed over the last 31 years, said the group. The government’s unchanged neoliberal policies will only widen the gap between rich and poor and keep the economy as a mere provider of cheap labor and raw materials for the global economy and a captive market. These neoliberal economic policies need to be reversed for the Filipino people to achieve their aspirations for development, IBON concluded.

IBON Foundation, Inc. is an independent development institution established in 1978 that provides research, education, publications, information work and advocacy support on socioeconomic issues.

Media & Communications Department
IBON Foundation
#114 Timog Ave
9276986 | | @ibonfoundation

4. From ILPS Philippines

EDSA@31 — peace talks not all out war

EDSA@31 — peace talks not all out war
While the government commemorates the 1986 “People Power Revolution” inside the headquarters of the Ar…