PH is moving from de facto martial law to open fascist rule - Karapatan

Today, September 21, 2017, on the Filipino People’s Day of Protest, Karapatan joins the newly-formed alliance Movement Against Tyranny and thousands of protesters to amplify calls to stop the killings in line with Duterte’s counterinsurgency program and the drug war campaign, among other forms of human rights violations. The protest also marks the 45th year since Marcos placed the country under martial law back in 1972.


"The parallelism between the Marcos and the Duterte regimes are becoming more pronounced, as the latter not only aids the political rehabilitation of the Marcoses but also employs the same fascist tactics and anti-people policies of the US-Marcos dictatorship, including threats to impose a nationwide martial rule. Duterte and his security cluster has utilized narratives and tactics straight out of Marcos’s playbook of repression, repeating and justifying rights violations, with increasing frequency and intensity," said Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay. 


Karapatan stated that "Marcos’ martial law was used as a tool to plunder public funds, plunge us into debt, restrict forms of protest, and completely do away with civil and political rights. We now have martial law in Mindanao and it has expectedly followed the same trajectory of escalating rights abuses."


As of August 31, 2017, Karapatan has documented 420, 046 victims of forced evacuation, 891 victims of illegal arrest, and 357, 754 victims of aerial bombardment and indiscriminate gunfire. Karapatan claimed that these cases are attributable to Duterte’s all-out-war declaration, his subsequent imposition of martial law in Mindanao, and the ongoing implementation of counterinsurgency program Oplan Kapayapaan.


Palabay added that " the AFP and the PNP, hailing from the Philippine Constabulary during the Marcos regime, continue to be among the most ruthless, despicable, and shameless institutions in the country. Akin to martial law during the Marcos regime, Duterte’s martial law unfolded with guarantees and protection for State security forces who are at the front line of committing rights violations. There has not been a change in the framework of the military and the police, thus continuing with their atrocities in indigenous and peasant communities."


The rights group pointed out that "in so far as there are undeniable, discomforting parallels between Marcos and Duterte, the systemic conditions which has plunged the country into deeper and deeper crisis remain the same - peasants remain landless, workers remain tied to slave wages, exploitative contracts and work conditions, government continues to be run by corrupt politicians from powerful clans, the country still adheres to unequal foreign agreements which has robbed us of any real chance at development, and the majority of Filipinos still live in poverty. Throughout regimes, change has come in profits and increasing revenues for the rich, and greater misery and burden for the rest of us."


"In the face of a military beholden to US dictates, Duterte has inched closer and closer to an open fascist rule. With his significant influence in all three branches of government, a de facto martial law has already been put in place. Whether it is formally declared or not, the people will continue to resist continuing State fascism. September 21 reminds us that 45 years ago, a corrupt, egoistic rights violator did what he could to hold on to power, but this day also reminds us of the real heroes of one of the darkest period of our history - the Filipino people who fought against martial law," Palabay concluded.