Duterte fueling State terrorism through devious government policies

“From martial law in Mindanao to a state of emergency in the Visayas and Bicol, to making legal the creation of death squads and perpetuate Tokhang-style killings, the use of laws and the alleged destabilization plot in Metro Manila to justify its vilification campaign and attacks against the people, the Duterte government is quickly treading the path towards a full-blown fascist dictatorship,” said Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay during a press conference in Quezon City to kick-off the week-long commemoration of International Human Rights Day on December 10. 

Also in the press conference are Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses and Martial Law (CARMMA) and Movement Against Tyranny Convenor Editha Burgos, artist and Liway film director Kip Obeanda, Commission on Human Rights Chairperson Chito Gascon, Atty. Fhilip Sawali, Chief of Staff of the office of Senator Leila De Lima, Paul John Dizon, Chairperson of Nagkahiusang Mamumuo sa Suyapa Farm (NAMASUFA) from Compostela Valley, and Kalayaan Rosales, daughter of political prisoners Oliver and Rowena Rosales. The panelists gave credence to an entire spectrum of rights violations employed by the government against the Filipino people. 

Karapatan displayed the wheel of terror, which enumerates the handful of repressive policies that the Duterte government is implementing, spun by a masked man. “This represents the modus operandi of the Duterte regime in its serial killing of peasants and rights defenders. Duterte is increasingly using masked men to execute the killings, typical of an avowed fascist who revels at the idea of having “death squads.” This devious method has allowed the Duterte government to further preserve the climate of impunity and escape accountability. The background of the victims, however, reveal the resistance that they have led against anti-people policies, which earned them Duterte’s ire,” added Palabay. 

According to Karapatan, as of December 2018, there are already 196 documented cases of extrajudicial killings in the entire country, at least 2,000 cases of illegal arrests, 100 victims of torture, 446,816 victims of forcible evacuation, 71,298 victims of threat, harassment and intimidation, 367,865 residents affected by bombings, and 1,646 recorded victims of forced/fake surrender, all in relation to the government’s counterinsurgency program Oplan Kapayapaan. The victims cut across sectors, targeting even filmmakers and known critics, with the Duterte government showing its vindictiveness by jailing its critics. Palabay also mentioned the recent case of illegal detention and filing of trumped-up charges against former Bayan Muna congressman Satur Ocampo and ACT Teachers representative France Castro. 

“This is what they have always done: pull outrageous barefaced ploys to cover up these violations – ranging from the use of riding-in-tandem perpetrators, outright denials, then brazenly churning out lies to justify these crimes. Ocampo and Castro are now being accused as kidnappers, when the reality which led to the displacement of teachers, students and personnel of Lumad schools centered on militarization and threats perpetrated by elements of the military and paramilitary groups,” added Palabay.

“These are not isolated cases, but coordinated efforts of the Duterte regime to suppress dissent and resistance. Repression is legitimized with the myriad of fascist policies that the government is implementing. State terrorism is actively being rolled out by the Duterte government – brazenly and incessantly. In the upcoming celebration of Human Rights Day 2018, what remains clear is the urgent need to decisively continue onward to resist the Duterte regime’s fascist attacks and defend people’s rights,” Palabay concluded.