Press Statement
1 December 2020

Cristina Palabay, Secretary General, ‪+639173162831‬
Karapatan Public Information Desk, ‪+639189790580

Karapatan on Duterte’s latest tirades vs activists, opposition members

Karapatan denounces the blatant red-tagging statements made by President Rodrigo Duterte last night during his televised meeting as the latest in his administration’s attacks against critics, members of the opposition, and activists.

As Commander-in-Chief and chairperson of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) Duterte, through his previous and recent pronouncements, have repeatedly labelled various groups and individuals as “terrorists,” “fronts of communist groups,” “organizations of demons,” and other pejorative tags, which are usually followed by words inciting harm or violence on them. Such statements clearly reflect the policy of red-tagging within the government’s counterinsurgency program which has resulted in extrajudicial killings, disappearances, illegal or arbitrary arrests, detention, fake or forced surrenders, and other human rights violations.

This harmful and patently dangerous policy and practice are matters which are being glossed over in the ongoing hearing of the Senate Committee on National Defense. The said hearing is being used by the NTF-ELCAC and authors of the recently enacted Terror Law as a pretext for graver and worse forms of human rights violations and other crimes against the Filipino people.

This whole pattern of violations has been likewise repeatedly called out by the Commission on Human Rights and numerous United Nations independent experts. Made public recently was the communication sent to the Philippine government by Mary Lawlor (Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders), Agnes Callamard (Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions), Balakrishnan Rajagopal (Special Rapporteur on adequate housing) and Elizabeth Broderick (Chair-Rapporteur of the Working Group on discrimination against women and girls) expressing grave concern on the killings of urban poor activist Carlito Badion and Karapatan human rights worker Zara Alvarez. They reiterated concerns over “the smearing of human rights defenders as ‘terrorists,’ threats made against human rights organisations by way of public statements by high-level officials, and the extremely worrying trend of ‘red-tagging’ those carrying out human rights work in the country.”

[Full communication:]

In continuing and ramping up these acts, the Duterte and his minions at the NTF-ELCAC must be held accountable for their brazen commission and encouragement of human rights violations and war crimes. These forms of political repression and attacks against dissenters must stop. These do not only lead to a worse climate of impunity in the country: these acts of State terrorism also seek to cover-up the administration’s incompetence, negligence and irresponsible governance that has failed to address poverty, landlessness, joblessness, among many other root causes of the armed conflict in the country. ###


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.