MANILA — Kin of victims of extrajudicial killings — both political and drug war-related — gathered at the Bantayog ng mga Bayani on Dec. 1 to protest what they called President Duterte’s tyranny.
As the International Human Rights Day draws nearer, progressives note a series of attacks against activists, human rights workers and advocates. The spike in deadly attacks followed Duterte’s Nov. 23 proclamation scrapping the peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).
The President also quipped that state forces should use human rights workers as shields during clashes, in his speech Nov. 28, just hours after two activists were shot dead and one was severely injured during a fact-finding mission in Negros Oriental.
“Ang hustisya po ay madalas mailap sa mga mahihirap. Ito po ang realidad natin sa panahon na ito — na ang mahihirap ang pinapatay ng gobyernong ito –‘yong mga walang pera, ‘yong mga wala sa kapangyarihan. Dito man po sa Metro Manila o doon sa probinsya ay pinapatay nang parang mga manok — mura ang buhay, kumbaga, sa administrasyong ito,” Cristina Palabay, Secretary General of human rights workers’ group Karapatan Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights (Karapatan), explained.
(Justice is usually elusive for the poor. This is the reality of the times we live in how — the government kills the poor — those who have no money, no power. Both here in Metro Manila and in the province, the poor are killed like chickens — life is cheap for this administration.)
This November, six activists were killed, while 19 were arrested in various incidents of attacks around the country, according to a compilation by the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas.
Meanwhile, the resurgence of drug-related police and vigilante killings in the cities are expected as the Philippine National Police (PNP) under the president’s order is set to relaunch Oplan Tokhang.
Duterte had warned that an executive order is already being drafted to formally classify the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), National Democratic Front of the Philippines and the New People’s Army as “terrorists” – as he stretches the definition of terrorism and disregarda all the progress of the peace talks for the past year. He also threatened to order a “crackdown” on Leftists.
“Ang panawagan na lang sana natin, ‘wag nang madagdagan ang mga pinapatay,” said Amado Cadano of Hustisya, whose activist son Guiller was detained for two years in Nueva Ecija. He was killed in an encounter in September as an NPA fighter.
“Itong mga kaanak natin ay maihahalintulad mo sa isang pinto na nagsara, pero marami naman pong kaisipan na nabuksan. Nalaman natin na ang kasalukuyang estado ay hindi kayang ibigay sa atin ang mga hinihingi natin na katarungan, hustisya. Makakamit lang po natin ito sa ating sama-samang pagkilos, sa ating pagkakaisa,” Cadano said.
(We call that there will be no more killings… Although they are like doors that have closed, they have also opened to us many things. We learned that the current state will not give us the justice we want and need. We can achieve it only through mass actions and uniting to fight against the fascist regime.)
The Black Friday protest kicks off a week-long series of activities leading to the International Human Rights Day. Karapatan, Hustisya, Rise Up, and other human rights advocates call on everyone to join the nationwide mobilization in Luneta on December 10 — to stand against fascism and Duterte’s strong-arm rule.
Text and photos By RUTH LUMIBAO