“We need decisive action now to avert climate catastrophe”. This is United Nations’ (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ message to world leaders in a preparatory roundtable discussion for the upcoming Climate Change Conference (COP26). In the 76th UN General Debate on October 6, 2021, leaders from different Pacific nations echoed his call and warned that setbacks in fighting the triple planetary crisis will jeopardize the world as the COVID-19 pandemic rages on.
With the right leaders elected in 2022, things can change with greater respect for human rights and the opening up of spaces to campaign for pro-people reforms.
Redtagging and smear campaign against Leyte CSO, “a brazen attack on volunteerism and development work”—CPDG
While civil society organizations (CSOs) like LCDe fill the gaps and limitations in the government’s pandemic response, they fall victims to its vicious counterinsurgency program. These malicious attacks do not contribute to anything but only deprives the poor, vulnerable, and marginalized Filipinos from receiving much needed assistance.
“Anyone who looks at the 2022 budget will immediately see that it does not respond enough to the country’s most urgent issues of COVID-19 and poverty alleviation,” Liza Maza, spokesperson of the Council for People’s Development and Governance (CPDG) stressed.
“NTF-ELCAC is clearly working to protect multinational corporations instead of Filipino workers. Its disaffiliation campaign against labor centers and unions only exposes what their repressive objectives are—to disenfranchise workers and deprive them of their rights,” Maza added. She also pointed out that on the guise of “combating Communism” and its “legal fronts”, the NTF-ELCAC and State Security forces openly attack militants and progressives. Moreover, it is being done to protect the interests of corporations over workers’ welfare.
“Duterte’s rants vs Senate investigation on Pharmally, a show of disrespect and betrayal of public trust”—CPDG
“Pres. Duterte’s blatant tirades against the Senate probe is despicable in so many ways. First, it is unbecoming for a president to defend a public official who performs without due diligence. Second, it exposes his administration’s bogus anti-corruption drive. Third, he has shown insensitivity to the Filipino people who are enraged with the mismanagement of public funds intended for the pandemic response,” said CPDG Spokesperson Liza Maza.
Elena’s abduction was among the cases that CPDG and other civil society groups cited in their petition to the Supreme Court last year against the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020. The dubious circumstances around her death further underscores the urgency for judicial action against this dangerously repressive piece of legislation. It criminalizes development work, dissent, and criticism. Once fully operational, disappearances, extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrests against development workers and activists will be legitimized on the pretext of curbing terrorist activity or support.
“They tried to bury us. They didn’t know that we are seeds”—As Duterte’s term comes to a close, demand accountability
As the current administration’s term comes to a close, we members of civil society urge every citizen, advocate, group and organization believing in human rights to join and support the call to stop the killings, demand accountability and justice, and retake the freedoms that we have lost.
“Our heroic healthcare workers deserve more than lip service from the government. They are overworked and underpaid, even before the pandemic. Their Special Risk Allowances and other benefits are long overdue,” says Liza Maza, CPDG spokesperson.
‘Tanim-ebidensya’ is also part and parcel of Oplan Tokhang. The same is used in arresting activists where firearms and explosives are planted as evidence to justify their imprisonment. Such actions violate the right to presumption of innocence for all individuals deemed as ‘suspects’.