36 years after a popular revolution overthrew the regime of Ferdinand Marcos, the Philippines on May 9 elected the former dictator’s son to the presidency. According to the partial vote count released by the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) at 98% reporting, Ferdinand Marcos Jr, also known as Bongbong Marcos, is set to win the presidency by securing around 60% of the popular votes counted so far. Bongbong’s running mate Sara Duterte, daughter of outgoing president Rodrigo Duterte, also won the vice-president’s post with over 61% of the popular votes in total. The marathon round of elections had a turnout of over 80% from among the 67 million eligible voters, electing thousands of officials and legislatures at the national, state and local levels.
I just returned from eight days in Luzon, the largest island in the Philippines, where the capital, Manila, is located. For many years, the movement for national democracy in the Philippines has asked for international solidarity, including human rights defenders to aid them in their struggle for economic and political rights. The presence of people from other countries can help diminish the violence of the Philippine military and national police against the movement. In addition, as national elections approach on May 9 there has been a rise in human rights abuses, and so the need for international solidarity is more pressing.
In the early morning of 30 December 2020, joint police-military units embarked on two simultaneous operations in the mountainous regions of Panay Island in the Philippines. Their assignment was to quell the spread of firearms allegedly proliferating across the region’s provinces by capturing 28 supposed members of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP). What the police described as a “regular law enforcement activity” ended up in the brutal killings of nine Indigenous community leaders. Council members of the Tumandok tribe were reportedly asleep when they were gunned down in front of their families, yet police claimed that they fought back and resisted arrest. Days later, residents of the town where the killings took place fled their homes in fear of more state violence.
Earlier this year, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte signed the Anti-Terrorism Act—a law that Amnesty International has called “yet another setback for human rights.” The law is clearly aimed at expanding the government’s ability to target political opponents and activists. It allows suspects to be detained by the police or military without charges for as long as 24 days and placed under surveillance for up to 90 days. “CWA is proud to support the introduction of the Philippine Human Rights Act to protect the working people in the Philippines who are suffering greatly under the Duterte regime.”
Over 100 international lawyers and lawyers’ associations issued an open letter to President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, and members of the Congress of the Philippines. The urgent open letter was issued to express high levels of concern about the proposed Anti-Terrorism Bill in the Philippines, which has been harshly criticized for its violations of human rights norms. As the letter notes, “The international community is alarmed by the apparent abuses of power and civil unrest that the law will bring about. It will suppress and criminalize free speech and dissent, label and punish political enemies as terrorists, and unjustly deprive them of basic internationally recognized human rights and due process.”
Junk The VFA! Tubbataha Disaster Shows How Us Military Presence Is Poisonous To The Philippines! — Bayan USA
Filipino-Americans under the banner of BAYAN USA are calling on Philippine President Benigno Aquino III to terminate the US-RP Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) as protesters descended upon the US Embassy in Manila yesterday to rally against the disaster surrounding the USS Guardian, a US naval minesweeper that got stuck onto the Tubbataha Reef in the Sulu Sea over one month ago.
MANILA (Reuters) - Colonel Romeo Caramat oversaw the bloodiest day in the blood-soaked war on drugs in the Philippines – 32 people killed in 24 hours in the province north of Manila where he was police chief in 2017. Now the head of drug enforcement for the Philippine National Police, Caramat said that ultra-violent approach to curbing illicit drugs had not been effective. "Shock and awe definitely did not work," he told Reuters in an interview, speaking out for the first time on the issue. "Drug supply is still rampant."
Manila's new mayor wants to turn the city's public schools into a living lesson in sustainability. Mayor Francisco "Isko" Moreno Domagoso unveiled a plan Tuesday to install solar panels and rainwater collectors on the roofs of primary and secondary schools in the Philippines' capital city, the Manila Bulletin reported. He said the initiative would raise environmental awareness in students. "If they are seeing these types of facilities, and it can be done since it's not even rocket science, they will know how to care for the environment," Domagoso told reporters, according to the Manila Bulletin.
A Filipino Muslim activist has been denied entry into the United States and is believed to be held at San Francisco International Airport, a human rights group in the Philippines reported. The Sandugo-Movement of Moro and Indigenous Peoples for Self-Determination, a group based in Mindanao, said Jerome Aladdin Succor Aba has been in the airport's holding facility since his arrival on April 17. It was believed that Aba, chairman of the group Suara Bangsamoro, was detained by American immigration officials over "visa problems." The activist was supposed to speak before religious and U.S. government officials, including members of the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives. Aba was also scheduled to speak on the human rights situation in the Philippines at the National Ecumenical Advocacy Days for Global Peace with Justice in Washington D.C. on April 20-23.
By Manuel Mogato and Roli Ng for Reuters. MANILA (Reuters) - Thousands of Filipinos rallied on Thursday to denounce Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte and warn of what they called an emerging dictatorship, in a major show of dissent against the controversial but hugely popular leader. Politicians, indigenous people, priests, businessmen, and left-wing activists held marches and church masses accusing Duterte of authoritarianism and protesting at policies including a ferocious war on drugs that has killed thousands. Signs saying “Stop The Killings” and “No To Martial Rule” reflected fears that Duterte would one day deliver on his threat to declare nationwide military rule like that imposed by late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
By Staff of Al Jazeera - Thousands of demonstrators have taken to the streets of the Philippine capital of Manila to denounce President Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs, as they marked the death anniversary of one of the country's pro-democracy heroes. Human rights advocates, youth groups, and religious communities on Monday defied a tropical storm that brought steady rain to gather at the memorial of the 1986 people power revolution to call for an end to the killings in Duterte's war on drugs. Amid public pressure, Duterte said on Monday there could have been abuses in his anti-drug war policy. "There is a possibility that in some of police incidents there could be abuses. I admit that," Duterte told reporters in Manila. "These abusive police officers are destroying the credibility of the government." Al Jazeera's Jamela Alindogan, reporting from Manila, said at least 4,000 people joined in the rally, adding that a separate protest was also held in another part of the city. Protesters are demanding an independent investigation into the summary executions and police operations that left thousands of people dead. They said the president should be held accountable for the deaths. Demonstrators waved Philippine flags and carried banners that read: "Resist the Fascist!", "Stop the Killings!", and "We will fight" among others.
By Staff for Bayan. Filipinos from around New York and New Jersey are coming together on Monday, June 5th to condemn martial law and increasing U.S. counterinsurgency and intervention in the Philippines. The demonstration demands that martial law be immediately revoked from Mindanao and that the GRP-NDFP peace talks resume. In the wake of attacks on May 23rd between the Maute group and the Philippine military in Marawi City, the entire southernmost island of Mindanao has been placed under martial law. President Duterte has suspended the writ of habeas corpus, meaning arrests can now happen without a warrant throughout the island. Habeas corpus is vital in protecting the right to liberty and preventing torture, ill-treatment and enforced disappearance.Hundreds of Moro men began being rounded up in Davao City on the day before Ramadan started, and Duterte is threatening to expand martial law to the entire country.
By Staff of Associated Press - MANILA, Philippines -- Hundreds of Filipinos protesting Friday outside the presidential palace burned a mock U.S. flag and asked President Rodrigo Duterte to punish police officers for brutally dispersing an anti-U.S. rally and ramming a van into some of the activists. About 1,000 left-wing protesters, carrying placards that read “U.S. troops out now” marched 1.8 mile to the presidential palace in Manila to condemn the violent police action and seek justice for those injured.
By Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya for Mint Press News - SHANGHAI — (Analysis) The Permanent Court of Arbitration’s non-binding ruling on the territorial dispute between the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of the Philippines is largely misunderstood. Sovereignty or ownership of disputed land formations were never going to be adjudicated or awarded as many Filipinos and Filipinas thought or were led to believe by the past and present leadership of the Philippines. What the Permanent Court of Arbitration tribunal studied were the geo-legal status definitions of the disputed territory.