Press Statement
July 24, 2017

Reference:  Cristina Palabay, Secretary General, 0917-3162831
                        Karapatan Public Information Desk, 0918-9790580


President Rodrigo Duterte is fast becoming a disappointment. He has started to increasingly bow down to the dictates of pro-US lackeys, turning his back from the progressive initiatives he has started. The GRP-NDFP peace negotiations is now in limbo, as he forces a bilateral ceasefire deal while undermining discussions on socioeconomic and political reforms, and is blatantly violating agreements on human rights and international humanitarian law. He has reneged on his promise to release all political prisoners through a general amnesty. Moreover, he has willingly surrendered people’s rights in lieu of military rule. He is increasingly pandering to the interests not of the Filipino people but to US imperialists and their loyal lapdogs in the top echelons of the military – Esperon, Lorenzana and Ano – who have the most to gain in an open fascist rule.  

Duterte has continued his anti-drugs campaign which continues to victimize poor communities that have lost their right to due process, as well as other civil and political rights. His anti-people policies, that of Oplan Kapayapaan, his war campaign on drugs, and his recent declaration and extension of martial law in Mindanao, are instrumental in creating an emboldened State security force sheltered in impunity. The economic framework adopted by his administration is a disappointing duplicate of his predecessors’ heavy dependence on foreign aid and investments. 

Duterte has repeatedly said that he will destroy anyone who attempts to destroy the country. Lo and behold, it is his bombs, his policies and State security forces which have killed, displaced, and arrested thousands. The US-Duterte regime is what’s destroying this country, spitting on people’s rights along the way. Under Duterte’s first year, Karapatan has documented 68 victims of politically-motivated killings, 842 victims of illegal arrest, and 42, 894 were subjected to threat, harassment and intimidation. His regime has also displaced 416, 005 individuals. The continuation of US-driven counterinsurgency program has also subjected 357,569 individuals to indiscriminate gunfire and aerial bombardments.

This is further exacerbated by plans to legislate repression, with the death penalty and the national ID system already underway. Throughout attacks against communities and individuals, all Duterte talks about are the military, the police, and repressive State security forces under his protection. Never mind the peasants, indigenous people, Moro, urban poor and workers, who have been victimized by State repression.

Karapatan upholds the fundamental right of the Filipino people to fight back against all forms of fascist attacks, US interventionist projects, and oppressive and exploitative policies. We will continue to challenge Duterte to seriously undertake pro-people policies and socioeconomic reforms, instead of governing with the old rules that have maintained the status quo. We will continue to stand with the people in campaigning for the immediate withdrawal of State policies such as the anti-poor war on drugs, Oplan Kapayapaan, and martial law which perpetuate violations. We will continue to press for the release of all political prisoners and push for the gains already achieved in the peace talks. Ultimately, Duterte must address the deteriorating human rights and people’s rights situation in the country, lest he becomes a tired, rusty imitation of the same ensemble – with exploitative neoliberal policies on the one hand, and fascism on the other.

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.