Karapatan criticizes US fake concern and hypocrisy on EJKs, rights situation in PH

In a statement during the 36th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva and its co-signing of the Joint Statement of 39 UNHRC member states, the US government expressed concern regarding the extrajudicial killings and attacks against human rights defenders and indigenous peoples in the Philippines, and on the climate of impunity associated with President Duterte’s drug war.

“Such statements of the US government are plain hypocrisy, as the US continues to fund many programs that have trained and equipped the very same police and military that murder the Filipino people. The US recently extended at least US$2 million assistance for the Duterte government’s drug war, while at least US$180 million was given to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and its counter-insurgency program. Indeed, there is ‘extrajudicial funding’ for these extrajudicial killings, and using the guise of security sector reform, the United States have concealed its direct participation in such programs. Its fake concern and hypocrisy on the human rights situation in the Philippines is revolting,” said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay.

“The drug war campaign is used as a leverage by the United State government – as a means to fuel criticism if Duterte continues with its anti-US stance, yet subsequently downplayed after the situation among the two parties have become friendlier. The human rights issue is not the United States’ concern per se, but rather its continued control over Philippine economy and politics, as it has done in Mexico, Colombia and several other countries,” said Palabay.

Palabay underscored that “Duterte have acceded to US lackeys in his Cabinet, indicated by his changing and cozying rhetoric with regard to the US, especially in the course of military operations in Marawi. Duterte even called his Defense Chief, Delfin Lorenzana, a US agent, but proceeded to say that such is not an issue. The President has now declared the US as “an important security ally,” sealing his administration’s neck into the US’ noose. Certainly, the militarists are happy, with a possible bottle of wine to celebrate the reaffirmation of puppetry during US President Trump’s visit in November this year. The rest of the country, however, stands to lose its resources, the rights of its peoples, and its sovereignty.”

In September 2017, the Philippines and the United States have unveiled another military partnership, in the form of a counterterrorism drill. This drill, called the Tempest Wind, includes not just exercises but additional military assessment, expert consultations, and  national level engagement. Starting September 18, the two countries have started its drills in Clark Field, Pampanga, focusing on so-called coordination in counterterrorism and security operations.

“This puts any possibility of an independent foreign policy under Duterte out of the window, as the US’ grip on the country’s defense, economic and political affairs have become much clasped in the recent months. The Filipino people can expect intensified counterinsurgency operations and witch-hunting of Muslim communities that do nothing to address this so-called extremism. The framework of the United States has always been a militarist and fascist approach, and human rights is the least of their concern. At the start of his term, Duterte lambasted the US for its human rights record. Now, the pieces are falling into place, and the President, like his predecessors, has returned whimpering back to its master’s arms,” Palabay concluded.