Duterte regime a danger to the Filipino people - Karapatan

“President Duterte, a fanatic of dictator Ferdinand Marcos and former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, continues to attack the Filipino people through his counter insurgency program Oplan Kapayapaan (OpKap) in full throttle. A trying-hard copycat of Marcos’ martial law, Duterte has also signed the death sentence of poor Filipinos under its war on drugs and counterinsurgency campaign. He followed the blood trails of his fascist role models and even facilitated their rehabilitation and return to power,” said Roneo Clamor, Karapatan Deputy Secretary General during a Black Friday protest held by various groups  in front of Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.


“Meanwhile, Duterte continues to sow terror through the imposition of martial law in Mindanao, taking advantage of alleged terrorist activities as pretext for a nationwide declaration of martial rule. He manufactures stories of so-called destabilization plots against his government. What Duterte conveniently ignores is that the growing outrage against his government is his own doing. He has engineered the killing of so many Filipinos and has managed to plunge all of us deeper into poverty in just two years! His incompetence and militarism will be his undoing,” Clamor further added.

The Karapatan official said that attacks against activists have gone unabated under the regime’s counterinsurgency program Oplan Kapayapaan. Clamor cited the killing of Haide Malalay Flores on August 21, 2018. Flores was a businesswoman and activist who was known for her peasant advocacies. She was on her way home when two men shot her; she sustained multiple gunshot wounds and was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital.

Relatives attested that Flores received death threats prior to her killing. She was said to be included in the death list of a group called Kawsa sa Guihulnganon Batok Druga ug Komunista (KAGUBAK), a vigilante group that supposedly targets drug users, druglords, members of the NPA and its supporters.

Also on August 19, 2018, spouses Gilbert and Jean Labial, both members of the Compostela Farmer’s Association (CFA), were gunned down by two armed men on board a motorcycle stationed near the 66th Infantry Battalion camp of the Philippine Army. The two were on their way home after visiting the wake of their fellow CFA member, who was killed a day prior by suspected elements of the 66th IBPA. The two were said to be targeted for opposing the entry of mining companies in their province.

“This is the danger of tyrannical regimes. Desperately looking for reasons to justify rights violations, they have become fond of labels – “terrorists”, “drug users”, “NPA sympathizers”, “enemies of the State.” These continuing attacks, however, merely show who the real enemies of the people are. State terrorism is difficult to veil, especially if its purveyors come out to broadcast and endorse the killings and bombings,” added Clamor.

Illegal arrests have also become a trademark of the Duterte administration. Trumped-up charges, lodged in line with OpKap and the Inter-Agency Committee on Legal Action (IACLA), has been widely used to jail critics on the basis of false charges. Clamor cited the arrest of spouses Edison and Divina Erece, both residents of Camiguin Island, Calayan, Cagayan, on September 3, 2018 by joint AFP and PNP operatives. Both are active members of local peasant organization Amihan-Cagayan. They were alleged as members and officers of the NPA. Edison is currently detained at BJMP Tuguegarao, while Divina is in PNP Tuguegarao. They were charged with trumped-up cases of illegal possession of explosives, murder, arson, and qualified assault.

“Duterte said so himself: insane leaders should be disposed of at the first instance. If he claims to despise leaders who instigate killing sprees, what more do the families and communities victimized by these violations. He is not far from suffering the same fate as his insane idols who thought themselves invincible, only to be toppled by the weight of marching Filipinos who have had enough of tyranny and repression. We reiterate our call for an immediate end to these attacks, the withdrawal of Duterte’s counterinsurgency program, and justice to all victims of State terrorism,” ended Clamor. ###