'Enough of him’: Groups slam Duterte halfway through his term
MANILA, Philippines – As the nation marked President Rodrigo Duterte’s third year in power, various groups, on Monday, July 22, called for an end to the many issues faced by the country under his administration.
This came the same day that President Duterte delivered his 4th State of the Nation Address (SONA). (READ: IN PHOTOS: From Luzon to Mindanao, thousands cry 'Atin ang 'Pinas!')
Bayan-Southern Mindanao Region (BSMR) council member and labor leader Carlo Olalo called to put an end to the Duterte regime.
“We are determined today to express our call that we had enough of Duterte’s fascist rule. Despite the continuing attacks to our ranks, we remain steadfast. Our protest action today is a testament that the abuses and atrocities of the Duterte regime unfolds, that even in his home city protest action is happening,” Olalo said in a statement.
In a press statement, the Promotion of Church People’s Response expressed its "commitment as a community of disciples, embracing our prophetic duty to rise for peace and justice and resist lies, treachery and killings."
"Enough of the lies, traitorous seeout of national patrimony, widespread killings, and violations of people's rights," the group urged.
The group also expressed its grief for the state of the nation because of the government's response toward the sinking of a boat with 22 fishermen onboard by a Chinese vessel – arguably the biggest issue faced by the Duterte administration by far.
“We are outraged by the government’s feebleness and impotence in protecting and defending our seas and our people, as manifested in its kowtow (bending knees) to China, when this imperialist power bullied our poor fisherfolk in our own territory,” the group said.
For them, such response stressed and spoke volumes “on the Duterte government’s treachery against our national patrimony and sovereignty.”
Olalo also expressed the group's outrage over the administration’s pro-China policies. (READ: Duterte asserts PH sovereignty to others, except China – analyst)
"Duterte betrayed us, he promised us for an independent foreign policy but what he did in the past 3 years is a total sell-out of our country’s patrimony and sovereignty to China," Olalo stressed in a statement.
Duterte is yet to assert the Philippines’ victory over China’s claim to the West Philippine Sea. (READ: Duterte Promise Checklist: Major accomplishments, failures)
Meanwhile, human rights advocates led by the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) and In Defense of Human Rights and Dignity Movement (iDefend) condemned the widespread human rights violations under President Duterte’s anti-illegal drugs campaign.
PAHRA Secretary-General Rose Trajano described that the state of the nation as “slow, painful death for the Filipino people who are suffering chronic poverty and widespread violence and impunity.”
Trajano also insisted that Duterte must be made accountable for these violations.
Promotion of Church People’s Response echoed this as the incessant lies, treachery and killings perpetuated by the Duterte administration puts our national integrity and dignity in peril and called to stop this impunity.
“Those who have lost their loved ones continue to suffer the burden of financial debt, emotional trauma, and the terror brought about by this war on the poor in urban communities,” the group said in a statement.
At least 5,000 suspected drug personalities killed in police operations of Duterte’s violent war on drugs. Human rights groups meanwhile pegged more than 20,000 including those killed vigilante-style. (READ: The Impunity Series)
In a joint statement, Let’s Organize for Democracy and Integrity (LODI), Altermidya, Concerned Artists of the Philippines and National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) emphasized how the victims of the rampant human rights violations have become mere statistics. (READ: PH drug war killings reach 'threshold of crimes against humanity' – report)
Freedom of Expression in peril
Groups also stressed how the freedom of expression has been affected in the time of his presidency. (READ: IN PHOTOS: Groups hit Duterte admin’s performance ahead of SONA 2019)
“Merely voicing out concern and reporting on the aggravating human rights situation in the country puts one at risk. The attacks were sustained and targeted all fronts: from the red-tagging of activists and organizations, to the harassment and even killing of journalists,” the joint statement from media groups read.
The Freedom for Media, Freedom for All Network has monitored at least 128 attacks and threats against members of the press since President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office. (READ: Over 100 attacks vs journalists since Duterte assumed office – monitor)
“In a nutshell, the last 3 years drastically shrunk the space for free expression,” media groups continued, showing how the administration wields its entire machinery to hide the truth in its bloody “war on drugs." – Rappler.com
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