Duter-Tyranny in the House

Press Statement | September 13, 2017

Pres. Rodrigo Duterte’s sycophants at the House of Representatives are having a field day in their fascist and anti-people schemes in the past days.

The Lower House’s move to allocate a meager PhP1,000 budget for the Commission on Human Rights is an attempt to clip the functions of a constitutional body mandated to check on the human rights violations of State actors. While Karapatan has consistently criticized the CHR for its partiality to and complicity with State security forces on the numerous cases of extrajudicial killings, harassment and forced evacuation of communities of indigenous peoples, peasants and activists and its turning a blind eye on the plight of political prisoners, especially during the terms of officials appointed by former Pres. Benigno Aquino III, we view the recent attempts of the Duterte administration to de facto abolish the CHR as a dangerous step that undermines available mechanisms for redress for human rights violations in this so-called democratic form of government.

The attempts to defund the CHR comes at a time when Congress is also set to approve the whopping PhP313 billion 2018 budget for its implementation of counter-insurgency program Oplan Kapayapaan and its bloody war on drugs. Both programs are designed to inflict further State terror and violence on the poor, while public funding for social programs on housing, education, and health services have been cut or are practically rendered non-existent.

In the 2018 proposed budget for Oplan Kapayapaan, at least PhP3.4 billion have been allocated for paramilitary groups that have been responsible for the killings of Lumad and peasants, under the direct command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Intelligence and confidential funds of the Office of the President and national security institutions have been increased more than 300%, as compared to 2016 budget allocations. The whole proposed budget for Oplan Kapayapaan is meant to promote and possibly expand martial law and the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ dirty war against poor peasants, Moro and indigenous communities, human rights defenders, progressive organizations, and revolutionary movements.  

The PhP1.4 billion proposed budget for the war on drugs not only includes funds for the Oplan Double Barrel and the program Mamamayang Ayaw sa Anomalya, Mamamayang Ayaw sa Iligal na Droga (MASA-MASID). It also includes funds for the Department of Interior and Local Government’s (DILG’s) Community Mobilization Program which will supposedly enlist volunteers to become government spies in the war on crimes, drugs and criminality. The CMP and the MASA-MASID, both touted by DILG officials as similar to the orientation of the Alsa Masa paramilitary group in the 1980’s, are two peas in Duterte’s fascist pod in the DILG, one that is designed to support the Duterte administration’s witch hunt and killing spree of small-time suspected drug users/peddlers, innocents and perceived enemies of the State. Undoubtedly, these programs will result in more human rights violations by police and local officials.  

Clearly, the 2018 proposed national budget is a war chest against the Filipino people. 

Recently too, on September 8, 2017, the Lower House also approved the proposed bill on the national ID system. The measure, if enacted into law, is bound to lead to wholesale violation of people’s rights to freedom of movement and privacy, right against surveillance, and to unhampered and non-discriminatory provision of social services. This move conveniently complements Duterte’s draconian plans to impose a nationwide martial law.

Ultimately, it is up to the Filipino people to frustrate and fight the fascist machinations of the Duterte regime. Kailanman, ang karapatan ng mamamayan ay hindi binibigay at iginagalang ng estadong pasista, ito ay ipinaglalaban ng mamamayan. We call on all sectors of society to march against Duterte’s tyrannical rule on September 21, with greater fervor and in great numbers. We call on all freedom-loving Filipinos to resist Duterte’s fascist attacks against the poor through our unity and utmost defense of human and people’s rights.    

Reference:  Cristina Palabay, Secretary General, 0917-3162831 

Karapatan Public Information Desk, 0918-9790580