Stop The Human Rights Crisis In The Philippines, Call An End To Duterte’s Tyranny
Today, on separate occasions, the Philippine National Police and Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) in Central Luzon arrested on false charges – Joseph Canlas, peasant leader and Chair of Alyansa ng Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luzon/AMGL (Alliance of Farmers in Central Luzon), Florentino Viuya, Vice-Chairperson of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan/BAYAN (New Patriotic Alliance) along with May Arcilla, a paralegal of Karapatan Central Luzon.
The International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL) strongly condemns this most recent spate of attacks on activists and human rights defenders in the Philippines reflecting the worsening human rights crisis under the Duterte government.
Canlas, Viuya, and Arcilla from AMGL, BAYAN, and Karapatan, all facing trumped-up charges after being vilified and red-tagged by military and police elements, are partners of the International IPMSDL in the campaign for the rights of indigenous Ayta of the region. With the construction of the Duterte government’s New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac, around 18,000 Aetas from 12 villages, the majority are poor peasants and farmers are threatened with forced eviction from their ancestral lands. They also face heavy militarization following the military’s counterinsurgency operations.
Within this month, crackdown and murder of human rights defenders in the Philippines reached alarmingly high rate. According to reports, human rights lawyer Angelo Karlo Guillen, legal counsel of the murdered and jailed Indigenous Tumandok, was brutally stabbed by unidentified men in Iloilo last March 3.
Last March 7, dubbed as “Bloody Sunday”, nine human rights activists were killed, including two Dumagat IP, while six others were arrested during the simultaneous police and military operations in CALABARZON Region south of Manila. And on the night of March 28, labor leader Dandy Miguel was extrajudicially killed in Laguna province.
Despite reports of a new surge of COVID-19 cases, the Duterte government continues to pour billions on military and police operations that violate human rights with impunity. Every day without justice and accountability from the worsening human rights violations endanger everyone’s lives and rights.
Let us support those who continue standing up for justice amid the darkest period of human rights in the Philippines. We join the call of all the Filipino rights defenders to stop the attacks on activists and peoples organizations. We urge the international community to amplify the call to stop the human rights crisis in the Philippines and call an end to Duterte’s tyranny.