On the recent threats of Duterte to human rights activists

President Rodrigo Duterte's repeated threats and orders to shoot and kill human rights activists vocal on human rights violations of his State security forces, especially those opposing his bloody war on drugs, is exacerbating the already dire situation in the country. His fascist campaigns against poor Filipinos - the war on drugs, his counter-insurgency war, and martial law in Mindanao - have already resulted in the killing, displacement and threats to lives, among others. News reports on the killing of 32 drug suspects in a day in Bulacan and 18 individuals in a day in Manila indicate a long apparent brazenness and bloodlust of corrupt police forces against the poor. How can this be acceptable?
 
It has long been an open season for killings of human rights defenders (HRDs). At least 474 HRDs were killed during the Arroyo presidency (2001-2010), and 139 during the Aquino presidency (2010-2016) while 50 HRDs have already been killed under President Duterte (July 2016-July 2017). In sum, a total of 663 HRDs were killed in a 16-year period. Majority of these are peasants, workers/trade unionists, indigenous peoples, Moro, women and youth human rights defenders -- all engaged in the work of defending the civil, political, socio- cultural and economic rights of their communities. Duterte's pronouncements, as policy statements, are making the situation worse.

Duterte's inane obsession with law enforcement methods that violate people's rights to address the drug problem, his disdain on the people's exercise of their civil and political rights through human rights defense, and his utter contempt in finding comprehensive solutions through important economic and political reforms, instead of continuing neoliberal programs, to genuinely address the roots of social problems betray his lack of interest in upholding people's rights.
 

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