Letter of Radio LoRa (Zurich) to Pres. Rodrigo Duterte

Zurich, March 12, 2018


H.E. Rodrigo Duterte
President of the Republic
Malacañang Palace,
JP Laurel St., San Miguel
Manila Philippines
op@president.gov.ph

 

Dear Mr President,

We write this letter to express our deep concern on the recent spate of attacks against human rights defenders, activists, and political dissenters in the Philippines, through the inclusion of the names of more than 600 individuals in a Justice Department petition to proscribe the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the New People’s Army (NPA) as terrorist organizations.

Several of the individuals named are well known to our radio stations, as had the privilege to interview them on the political and human rights situation in the Philippines and on the valuable and wonderful work they themselves and their organisations are doing to improve people’s situation, fight for womens rights, the rights of indigenous peoples and fight poverty and injustice in the Philippines.

To list them as members of a terrorist organisation is baseless, arbitrary malicious and reproessive act that endangers the lives and security of these individuals, as well as that of their familes and fellow activists. It is the most blantant disrespect of their engagement and support to the people. Support services that the Philippine Government unfortunately is not providing to its people.

The use of Human Security Act of 2007 to suppress legitimate dissent is a dangerous and underhanded move that indubitably worsens the climate of impunity in the Philippines. We deplore this and other acts that intimidate, threaten, harass, target and criminalize persons and defenders who have been working for people’s rights and welfare.

We urge the Philippine government to:

  • Junk the baseless, malicious and arbitrary Justice Department petition and stop the criminalization of the work of activists, human rights defenders, and political dissenters through the practice of filing trumped-up criminal charges;
  • Stop the labeling of members and leaders of progressive people’s organizations and patriots as “terrorists” both in the national and international forums. Stop the threats, intimidation and harassment of human rights defenders;
  • Repeal the Human Security Act of 2007 and all legislative, administrative, executive and judicial acts that violate human rights;
  • Effectively address and immediately prosecute and punish acts of terrorism and human rights violations by agents of the State;
  • End the counter-insurgency program Oplan Kapayapaan which directs and funds State security forces to threaten, harass, arbitrarily and illegally arrest individuals tagged as “enemies of the State”;
  • Immediately abolish the Inter-Agency Committee on Legal Action (IACLA), a body created by the PNP and the AFP, which further legitimizes and systematizes the political persecution and illegal arrest and detention of rights defenders and activists;
  • Continue the peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines and comply with its obligations and commitments under the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL), which includes the right to freedom of thought and expression, freedom of conscience, political beliefs and practices and the right not to be punished or held accountable for the exercise of these rights, and the right to free speech, press, association and assembly; and
  • Adhere and respect the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, and all major Human Rights instruments that it is a party and signatory.

We will condinously report at our radio station on this attack against human rights defenders in
the Philippines and disseminate the news among our media networks in Europe. We are looking
forward to the news that the Justice Department in the Philippines has delisted the 600
individuals.

Sincerely,

(SGD) Rita Mainrad

Member of the Executive Council or Radio Lora, 97.5 FM (Zurich)