The death of an overseas Filipino worker mistaken for being a drug addict in the hands of the Philippine police deserves the highest condemnation from Filipinos abroad. What makes the act beyond reproach is that Allan Rafael, 35 years old, was a cancer patient receiving treatment for his lymphoma at the time when he was murdered.
Rafael has become part of now some 20,000 victims slaughtered by Pres. Rodrigo Duterte’s dirty war on drugs. Yet the Philippine National Police are coaxed for the continued killing and bulldozing of human rights with protection and promotion – like Senior Superintendent Chito Bersaluna whose Caloocan cops shot teenagers Kian delos Santos and Carl Arnaiz.
Bersaluna was awarded to become a provincial chief for the province of Bulacan. Hence, it was under Bersaluna’s command that the striking workers at NutriAsia in this province, including supporters and members of the media, were attacked and arrested by his men.
Yet Duterte’s bloody hands have not only trampled the rights of the poor in urban areas, but also continue to ignore the call for peace and socio-economic reforms in the countryside.
As the Filipino people commemorate the 46th anniversary of the declaration of martial law by the dictator Ferdinand Marcos in 1972, the horrors that it brought then endure to this day.
Blinded by his thirst for power, Duterte and his forces are all but willing to ignore the rights of the many communities the Armed Forces of the Philippines have militarized. In the communities where the forces have encamped, martial-law- like rules are being imposed. Fleeing Lumad community members continually face harassment, including food blockade by the AFP. Fisherfolks’ homes in Laiya Aplaya, Batangas were violently demolished to make way for a private eco-tourism zone.
On August 21, three farmers who are members of peasant group Compostela Farmers Association were killed by unidentified gunmen in Compostela Valley. Two other farmers were killed and one wounded in a separate incident in Agusan del Sur, by members of the CAFGU and 23rd IB. The Unyon ng Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) reports that 34 political activists mainly from NFSW and KMP-Negros that have been killed so far during the Duterte regime, mostly through land disputes. Over a hundred peasant activists have actually been killed under Duterte’s rule.
Rights alliance Karapatan cited at least 49 victims of extrajudicial killings in Mindanao, where martial law is being imposed. The number pegs one victim killed every week. In addition, there were 22 documented cases of torture, 89 victims of illegal arrest and detention, and 336,124 victims of indiscriminate gunfire and aerial bombings. More recently, there was the massacre of 7 Tausug youth in Patikul, Sulu.
Moreover, the respect for rights of combatants from insurgency groups is next to none. Seven members of the Communist Party of the Philippines were massacred in Panay in the middle of the night on August 21, unarmed. Combined forces from the army and Philippine police swooped down and attacked without provocation. As in the past, planted evidence and the lies about a “firefight” littered the statements from government troops.
Earlier in March this year, the Philippine government tagged some 600 activists, including a U.N. special rapporteur, environmentalists, indigenous people’s advocates, former priests and a lawmaker, as members of the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing New People’s Army, and also sought to declare them as “terrorists” in petition filed in court. And then again, our members of the Makabayan bloc were harassed following issued arrest warrants over a malicious and baseless 4-year old case. Former party-list representatives Liza Maza, Rafael Mariano, Satur Ocampo and Teddy Casino were later cleared of the murder charges.
Despite the unrelenting large-scale abuses to human rights, combined with soaring inflation because of the TRAIN law, discontent is spreading fast even from the millions of impoverished Filipinos who voted Duterte in power. His alliance with the Marcos and Arroyo cliques contributes to his further isolation. And his bloody Oplan Tokhang against drug addiction, his US-sponsored Oplan Kapayapaan, and his war against the Moro people are effectively fueling the growing broad opposition to his regime.
Already the International Peoples’ Tribunal in Brussels, Belgium, handed down on September 20, a guilty verdict on Duterte for crimes against humanity over the alleged “gross and systematic violations of human rights” in the Philippines. The verdict also covered “ongoing harassment, extrajudicial killings of indigenous peoples and their displacements from their ancestral homes” brought about by the imposition of martial law in Mindanao.
Today, the outrage of the masses continues to spill out into ever-increasing and various forms of protests.
Stop the killings! Stop the attacks!
Stop political persecution!
End impunity now!
Unite to oust the US-Duterte fascist regime!
September 21, 2018
Country Organizing Committee