The Council for People’s Development and Governance (CPDG) stands united with the Filipino people in condemning the Duterte administration’s wholesale attack on human rights and democracy in the country.
Pres. Rodrigo Duterte’s term has one year left and is coming to a close. His administration’s policies and poor COVID-19 response drove the economy into the deepest recession in its history. Millions of Filipinos suffer hunger, joblessness, and discontent even as the pandemic continues to spread. Amid all this, oligarchs continued to amass wealth and the largest corporations continued to profit.
In response, the people—especially those in the most vulnerable and marginalized sectors—clamor for a better government response that alleviates their conditions from the dire economic crisis. The government has instead unleashed its security forces to repress dissent on the pretext of peace and order resulting in worsening human rights abuses.
Says Liza Maza, CPDG spokesperson: “The Duterte government is clearly uninterested in resolving the people’s problems. Instead of providing ayuda and implementing measures based on the rights and the needs of the people, it focuses its time and resources on its dubious campaigns supposedly against criminality, drugs, and terrorism. This only victimizes tens of thousands from poor, vulnerable sectors and critical voices. This has been going on in the past five years and it has to stop.”
CPDG has long condemned the government’s growing anti-democratic legal measures such as the so-called Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 and the smear campaign against activists, development actors, and rights advocates. These are sham peace-building efforts that harm and even result in the death of rights defenders. Anti-crime and counterinsurgency operations in the last months have already taken so many lives aside from defamed and imprisoned countless red-tagged individuals.
“The civic and democratic space in the country is narrowing because of the government’s intolerance to criticism and dissent. Activists tagged as rebels are either murdered and imprisoned,” Maza explained. She also pointed out how uniformed personnel are abusing their powers even during the pandemic, citing crimes committed by state security forces against civilians.
CPDG also decries Pres. Duterte’s proposal to arm civilian volunteers supposedly to assist the PNP in its peace and order campaigns.
“The president adds fuel to the fire by inciting civilians to arm themselves as ‘force multipliers’ of the PNP. This will only lead to more and more human rights abuses and attacks on critics, and further entrench the climate of violence and fear,” Maza added.
CPDG calls on all concerned citizens, civil society, and the people to link arms and reject the autocracy and authoritarianism of the Duterte administration.
“We should remain steadfast in calling for accountability and justice for all the victims of state-sponsored violence and repression. The president and his accomplices should be brought to justice, may it be through the International Criminal Court or any other legal platform. Likewise, we must defend our freedoms and liberties which are under threat and reclaim our democratic rights,” ends Maza. #
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