U.S. Human Rights Groups Condemn Additional U.S. Funding to Philippine Military and Police and Call for a Congressional Hearing to Investigate Human Rights Violations Under the Duterte Regime

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Contacts:
Drew Elizarde-Miller | ICHRP-US Secretariat | 503-476-2179 | dcsmiller@gmail.com
Narissa Lee | ICHRP-US Media | 415-613-1432 | ICHRPUS@gmail.com

U.S. Congress approved more military aid to the Asia Pacific Region, while the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines-U.S. chapter (ICHRP-US)  launched a campaign to urge Congress to cut aid to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP)

Despite the U.S. government shutdown, President Trump signed into law the Asia Reassurance Initiative Act, S.2736 and the House version H.B. 6888, which authorizes $1.5 billion in annual funding to the region, including the Philippines, from 2019 to 2023. As U.S. tax-funded aid to the AFP and PNP has been heavily associated with rampant human rights violations and killings in Philippines, human rights groups are calling for a congressional hearing to ensure that the additional funding under this bill does not contribute to increased killings and other violations of human rights of Filipinos.


While the bill states that no support will be provided to the PNP for counternarcotics assistance unless international human rights standards are met, human rights advocates are concerned about further aid to the AFP and weapons procurement for the PNP. Last month, the Ecumenical Advocacy Network of the Philippines, a network of faith-based organizations, released a public statement urging the House and Senate to reject any version of S.2736 and H.B. 6888 that does not specifically state that none of the additional proposed funds can be appropriated to the PNP and AFP.

“US foreign policy towards China should not infringe upon the sovereignty and rights of people in the Asia Pacific,” said Pam Tau Lee, Chairperson of ICHRP US.  “The $1.5 billion in military aid approved by members of Congress is being mistakenly lauded as a step to protect human rights in the Philippines by some media. In reality, if allocated to the AFP, it will directly fund the crimes they perpetrate, including extrajudicial killings of peasants and peasant leaders, illegal arrests and detentions, and ceaseless harassment and intimidation of civilians, including arbitrary shootings of schools in Mindanao.


Since Duterte took office in July 2016, over 23,000 people — estimated by the PNP itself — are suspected to have been murdered; at least 540 people are being detained as political prisoners; and more than 430,000 people have been displaced by the AFP.

In 2018 alone, U.S. Congress approved $184.5 million in military aid to the Duterte administration. In response to the worsening human rights crisis in Philippines, ICHRP-US launched a nationwide campaign to call for an end to all U.S. support for the Duterte Administration, beginning with calling on Congress to cut funding to the AFP and PNP.

Joy Prim, the ICHRP-US Regional Coordinator in Southern California which is home to the largest number of Filipinos in the country, urged human rights advocates in the United States to participate in the campaign:  “Human rights defenders in the U.S. have a responsibility to grow the movement against fascism in the Philippines and end the United States’ role in aiding and abetting Duterte’s murderous regime. We are calling on all human rights supporters in the United States to demand a congressional hearing and help expose and halt the use of tax dollars that’s funding the Duterte administration’s murder spree, which is now in the tens of thousands.”

In 2007, Senator Barbara Boxer hosted a congressional hearing on extrajudicial killings in the Philippines under then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Later that year, Congress restricted U.S. aid to the Philippines until certain human rights conditions were met.

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Fil-Ams disrupt Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, orchestrator of U.S.-funded Philippine “War on Drugs”

For Immediate Release: Sunday, December 16, 2018

Contact: Joy Prim, International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines Southern California Network (ICHRP SoCal) | ichrpsocal@gmail.com

LOS ANGELES — On Saturday afternoon, December 15, progressive Filipino organizations held a demonstration at Bahay Kubo Restaurant in Historic Filipinotown to confront Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa — the mastermind of President Duterte’s “War on Drugs”, who recently resigned as the Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief before joining the Philippine senatorial race in October 2018. Bato was scheduled to speak at Bahay Kubo, but cancelled his appearance as members of progressive organizations — International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines – U.S. (ICHRP US), Migrante Los Angeles, MALAYA Southern California, and BAYAN-USA — quickly gathered at the restaurant to demand an end to the killings under Duterte’s Regime, which has already resulted in grave human rights violations and over 23,000 extrajudicial killings under the drug war.

Bato, this former PNP chief has blood on his hands. We can never forget our kababayan [Filipino countrymen] are suffering because of the death squads PNP unleashed on poor communities, ” said Nikole Cababa, Secretary General of BAYAN. “Under Bato’s leadership the PNP harassed, surveilled, intimidated, tortured, arrested, and killed thousands of our kababayan. We must stand together to stand up for justice, to speak the truth, and to carry on the fight for genuine change in the Philippines.


Since Duterte took office in 2016, the Philippines has gained international attention for its brutal implementation of the drug war. Bato led the PNP’s campaign strategy of knocking on the doors of suspected drug users, also known as Oplan TokHang, leading to the harassment and killings of Filipinos without due process.  In September 2016, Bato was quoted saying: “If [drug suspects] pull out a gun, kill them. If they don’t, kill them still, son of a whore, so it’s over, lest [PNP officers] lose the gun. I’ll take care of you.

Although Bato canceled his talk at Bahay Kubo, supporters and members of Maharlika, a pro-Duterte organization, stayed at the restaurant, chanting “Long live, Duterte! Long live, Marcos!” as they were face to face with members of the progressive organizations. The demonstration continued despite verbal confrontations by members of Maharlika.



At his campaign speech in Las Vegas last week, Bato attempted to pander to Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), claiming that OFWs are important to the wellbeing of Philippines. On Saturday, Mariah Oca of Migrante Los Angeles, responded: “If Bato is so against the harm illegal drugs has in the Philippines, I challenge him to actually address the root causes of drug use instead of sponsoring mass murder, or proposing to author senate bills that will ban drugs from entering our country… Writing or passing another bill to ban shabu from entering our country is not going to cure the ailments of our society. That will not give land to the landless farmers, that will not end contractualization of the workers, that will not end the thousands and thousands of Filipinos forced to leave for  work abroad ripping families apart.”

The fabrication of Duterte’s “War on Drugs” has also been linked to the attacks and killings against human rights leaders in Philippines, who are often arrested on trumped-up charges of drug use. More recently, U.S. Congress approved the allotment of $184 million in tax dollars to support military operations in Philippines. Activists worry that this will yield more attacks and killings of Filipinos without due process.

In December 2018, ICHRP US launched a campaign to End U.S. Support to the Duterte Regime, including all forms of aid to the PNP and Armed Forces of the Philippines. As the election season has already begun, we must monitor and respond to the issues that arise, especially knowing that corruption and human rights violations go hand in hand with elections in the Philippines,” said Joy Prim, Southern California Regional Coordinator of ICHRP US. As the number of human rights violations continue to rise, we must join the growing movement against Duterte’s tyranny and violent fascism and defend genuine democracy for the Philippines.


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Extension of Martial Law in Mindanao is an Extension of Trump-Duterte’s Tyranny

On December 11, the the day after International Human Rights Day, Philippine Congress voted to extend martial law in Mindanao until the end of 2019. The extension — which will continue the suspension of habeas corpus and further enable the gross human rights violations of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police — comes a full year and a half after Duterte’s initial declaration of martial law in May of 2017.

The International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines-United States, a broad network of organizations concerned about the human rights situation in the Philippines, denounces the extension of martial law in Mindanao.

Duterte’s martial law has proven to be far more than just an attempt to fight terrorism in Marawi City. The destruction of Marawi City, where over 450,000 were displaced from their homes, has shown the intention and character of the Duterte regime, whose growing militarization of the country has only brought destruction and misery. Instead of providing sanctuary and justice, the Duterte regime has only replaced the homes in Marawi with shady business deals benefiting foreign entities, lenders and businesses. Evacuees are still living in inadequately equipped evacuation centers while their lands are being sold off. Additionally, Martial Law in Mindanao has not only increased repression of activists, illegal arrests and extrajudicial killings in the Southern Philippines, but has set precedent for the militarization of the whole country and a nationwide declaration of martial law.

This extension of martial law took place just a day after Duterte signed Executive Order 70 (EO70), another measure that will increase militarization of communities under the facade of peace-building. After scrapping the possibility of much needed social and economic reforms with his rejection of peace talks with the National Democratic Front, President Duterte created EO70, which claims to address root issues of armed conflict in local communities through basic services administered by the Armed Forces. Yet, given the many opportunities to pursue peace talks with the National Democratic Front at the behest of the masses of the Filipino people, along with the 23,000 killings under his leadership, Duterte has no credibility in developing peace programs. Rather, Duterte’s peace programs, EO70 or the deadly counterinsurgency program, Oplan Kapayapaan, have only resulted in further slaughter and exploitation of landless peasants, indigenous people, union leaders and the Moro people struggling for self-determination.  

Behind Duterte’s militarization is the intelligence, support and interest of the United States, who created and orchestrated Operation Pacific Eagle in the backdrop of the Marawi crisis and the declaration of martial law. Despite the well recorded human rights abuses of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and Philippine National Police, the United States has not wavered in its support of the Philippine military and police, providing the former with 184.5 million dollars in training, tactical guidance, drones and other forms of military equipment. Further, when Jerome Aba, a Moro peace activist from Mindanao, came to the United States at the invitation of United Methodists in April 2018 to speak on the human rights situation in Mindanao, U.S. customs detained, tortured and barred Jerome from entering the United States. In the context of Trump’s repression of migrants, activists and oppressed people in the United States, along with his war-mongering around the world, the extension of Martial Law in Mindanao is also an extension of Trump’s tyranny abroad.

We forge ahead in solidarity to demand: End Martial Law in Mindanao! End U.S. Support of the Duterte Regime! Cut U.S. Aid to the Philippine Military and Police!  

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Solidarity is Our Duty! Build the Movement to End US Support of the Duterte Regime: ICHRP Convening – Dec. 1, 2018

 

Over the past year, ICHRP-US and its members have conducted engaging and high profile activities throughout the US and in the Philippines.  ICHRP-US has reached a broadening base of people amidst the deteriorating human rights crisis in the Philippines under the Duterte regime. This past year has strengthened the commitment of existing members and garnered the support and commitment of new members to support the Filipino people engaged in fearless struggle against rising fascism and tyranny in the Philippines.

Near the one year anniversary of its 2017 launch, the ICHRP-US Network gathered at the Epworth United Methodist Church in Portland, Oregon on December 1, 2018 to:

  1. Discuss the latest developments in the Philippines under Duterte’s Regime and the U.S. role in aiding the worsening human rights crisis.
  2. Develop a 2019 plan of political action, particularly the campaign to End US Support for the Duterte Regime.
  3. Strengthen the leadership and coordination of regions, working groups and the National Coordinating Committee of ICHRP-US and expand our membership.

There were 34 organizations represented by 54 participants who studied the economic and political situationer of the Philippines to ground themselves in the current conditions and to best inform the campaign development process.  

In addition to discussing the 2019 campaign plan, the group reviewed  ICHRP-US’ gains and challenges over the past year.

Working groups were assembled during breakout sessions to build a stronger media strategy, follow up on the campaign for Justice for Jerome, develop congressional targets, and to build broad movement and pressure, as well as a social media strategy.

Recognition of Martyrs

In honor of the upcoming International Human Rights Day on December 10th, the convening honored a few recent martyrs.

Ben Ramos was 56 years old and was a founding member of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers. Despite limitations, he was the “go-to” pro-bono lawyer of peasants, environmentalists, activists, political prisoners and mass organizations in Negros Occidental.  Earlier this year, he was maliciously and irresponsibly tagged in a public poster by the Philippine police as among the so-called personalities of the underground armed movement.  Ben is the 34th lawyer killed under the 2-year administration of President Duterte. Excluding judges and prosecutors, he is the 24th member of the profession killed and the 8th in the Visayas region. He was passionate, dedicated, articulate and yet also amiable and jolly. He remained fearless in the pursuit of justice, and brought that same determination and character into everything he did.

On the night of October 20, 2018, nine sugarcane workers were massacred while they were resting by more or less 40 armed men in Hacienda Nene in Sagay City, Negros Occidental over land dispute. This is not the first time in our history that farmers were murdered to preserve the interest of landlords. Time and time again violence were used against peasants in response to their pleas for genuine land reform. Such horrific event only further shows the maltreatment of the country’s lifeblood. From unfair policies to actually spilling their blood on the land that they tilled, farmers have long been victims of systematic oppression. The massacre of Sagay 9 reinforces what has long been proven: the lending ears for the plight of farmers are not just deprived, the farmers and their struggles are continuously grinded down by those in power, forever attempting to sweep under the rug their crimes towards them.The blood of farmers will continue to shed until the government pushes for genuine agrarian reform. The people who put food on our table will continue to starve until we stop landlords from stealing what is rightfully theirs. For as long as our people are deprived of their rights, their sufferings will never end.

Elisa was the coordinator for the human rights organization Karapatan in Negros Oriental Province in the Philippines.  She also served as an organizer of urban poor communities in Cebu Province, and worked with Desaparecidos, an organization of families of the disappeared.  Elisa and two of her colleagues were killed on November 28, 2017 by two unidentified men at Barangay San Ramon, Bayawan city in the Negros Oriental province during a mission to investigate alleged land rights abuses in the area.

Had Obello Bay-ao not gone home to Talaingod, Davao del Norte to help with the farming, the Grade 7 student of the Salugpongan Tu Tano Igkanogon-Community Learning Center Inc., a lumad school, might well be alive still, his cousin Rorilyn Mandacawan said.  The 19-year old Manobo was actually one of the lumad who had journeyed from Mindanao to Metro Manila in the Lakbayan 2017and set up camp, including a “bakwit” (evacuee) school set up by the Save our Schools Network, at the University of the Philippines Diliman, Rorilyn said.  “He was actually here with us, when we first came to the bakwit school here in Manila. He went home to help with the farming. How I wish he had gone back here,” said Rorilyn.  As it was, Obello, 19, was shot as he walked home after harvesting his cornfield, allegedly by cousings Ben and Joven Salangani, members of the both the government’s Citizen’s Armed Forces Geographical Unit and the military-backed militia Alamara, the afternoon of September 5.  He made it home despite his wounds but died that evening in the hospital where he was rushed.

Campaign Discussion

The international opposition against the U.S.-backed atrocities of the Duterte administration is reaching new heights. In the past year, grassroots organizations, U.S. Senators, and international governing bodies have condemned the killings of the Duterte Administration. In response, the Duterte Administration has rejected foreign criticism, even threatening to offer foreign activists as targets for the Philippine National Police (PNP) if such scrutiny continues.

Duterte’s administration has shown it will spare no one in its wars against the poor, the Moro (Muslim) and the defenders of human rights. Recently, agents of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and PNP have shot a ten year old lumad child, Aboy Mandaget, murdered Attorney Benjamin Ramos of the National Union of People’s Lawyers, and carried out a brutal massacre in Sagay against nine farmers including women and children.  In addition to these recent atrocities, Duterte’s brutal “war on drugs” targeting the poor and the violent repression of labor unions and worker picket lines continues.  Furthermore, the declaration of martial law in Mindanao has resulted in the displacement of 436,517 people and widespread harassment of women by the Philippine military and police. In the two years of Duterte’s Presidency, the death toll at the hands of Philippine Military and Police has risen to over 23,000 killings. Despite these ruthless acts of violence, the United States has allocated 184.5 million dollars in aid to the Philippine Military and Police.

A big year awaits, as ICHRP-US’ campaign has ambitious goals. ICHRP-US aims to educate the US public broadly on the role and impact the US has on the Philippines human rights situation across various sectors and cases.  Such issues like military aid to the Philippine National Police, the detention and torture of Jerome Aba, the plundering of indigenous land and the exploitation of workers in the Philippines will continue to be highlighted. Over the next year, ICHRP -US will agitate and involve key organizations and people in helping to end U.S. support of the Duterte Regime, including raising congressional awareness and action to help end U.S. aid to the AFP & PNP. ICHRP US expects that the ability of the network to wage and win congressional advocacy campaigns for the Philippines will be strengthened over the next year.

In discussing how to develop this work, a lively debate occurred around the language of “cutting military aid” and “US support of the Duterte Administration.” Some believed pressuring Congress on military aid would not be strong enough because of the other forms of economic and political support the Philippines receives from the U.S.  Some believed using the word administration might mislead people into thinking that once Duterte is no longer in power, the human rights crisis would be resolved. Ultimately, the group reached a unanimous decision to demand to “End US Support of the Duterte Regime,” to demonstrate the systemic aspect of the situation in the Philippines and to build a comprehensive campaign to stop human rights violations that is not only focused on legislative advocacy, though it is a crucial piece of the campaign.

More breakout group sessions discussed ways to connect with environmental and indigenous peoples issues, the trade union movement, and efforts to build a broad anti-war/peace movement. There was also fruitful discussion on lobbying plans and how to mobilize people for next year’s International Solidarity Mission to the Philippines.

Closing

The day of planning ended on a high note with an action in downtown Portland. Putting commitment into action, the delegates raised awareness about the absurd amount of money the US has given the Duterte Regime in the form of US aid to the Philippine Military and Police.  People passing by were shocked to hear that 184.5 million dollars of US taxpayer money was being allocated to a government that committed grave human rights violations.  When asked what they would rather spend the tax money on, they voted for healthcare, education, housing, and the environment.

The gathering and action forecast a challenging but exciting year ahead. The delegates deepened their understanding of the gravity of the human rights situation in the Philippines and the urgent need to ramp up support for the Filipino people’s struggle against the Duterte regime.

Solidarity is our Duty!  End US Support of the Duterte Regime! Uphold human rights in the Philippines!

ICHRP-US Condemns Philippines’ Seat on UN Human Rights Council

Over the weekend on October 13, the Philippines won a three year term on the United Nations Human Rights Council despite widespread outcry against gross human rights violations and over 20,000 extrajudicial killings under the Duterte Administration in under two years.

Duterte’s office defended the new seat as an affirmation of Duterte’s attention to human rights. According to the President’s new spokesperson, Salvador Panelo,  “The president’s campaign against illegal drugs, corruption, and criminality has, in effect, been acknowledged by the international community as essential to the protection of the right to life, liberty and property.” Meanwhile, two claims have been filed against the Duterte Administration with the International Criminal Court (ICC). Additionally, in September, the International People’s Tribunal (IPT) found both the Trump and Duterte Administration guilty of human rights violations in the Philippines.

Along with the ICC, the IPT and the mounting international opposition from rights groups to the human rights violations under President Duterte stand U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden. Senator Merkley has said he “will continue to press Duterte on his human rights record,” and Senator Wyden recently stated he has “very serious concerns about undertaking trade negotiations with a Philippine president who brags about a bloody drug war.”

Their comments were welcomed by groups advocating for human rights in the Philippines and campaigning to ensure U.S. tax dollars do not fund human rights abuses. In 2018 alone, the Trump administration has supported the Duterte administration with at least 184.5 million dollars of aid to the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Merkley and Wyden’s statements come after similar remarks from another U.S. Senator, Patrick Leahy, who in 2016 said, “if President Duterte is serious about improving conditions in the Philippines, he should be focusing on improving services for Filipinos, not casting them aside.”


Pam Tau Lee, Chairperson of ICHRP-US, stated, “The Philippines’ new seat on the United Nations is a horrifying development and farcical recognition of the Duterte Administration as an upholder of human rights. The time is now for heightened scrutiny from international bodies like the ICC and the UN. We call on others in the United States government to join Senators Merkley, Wyden and Leahy in opposing U.S. complicity in the drug war, and we call on the people of the United States to continue resistance to the misuse of tax dollars for war and human rights violations.”

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Founded in December 2017, the U.S. Chapter of the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines has 40 member organizations and honorary individual members. We aim to inform the international community about the grave human rights situation in the Philippines today. Beyond information dissemination, it calls on freedom loving peoples, organizations, political parties and governments all over the world to express their concern about the deteriorating human rights situation in the Philippines and to join the Filipino people in their quest for just and lasting peace in the land.

The U.S.-Duterte Regime Cannot Silence Us: No PNP in the U.S!

The International People’s Tribunal in Brussels, Belgium found Presidents Trump and Duterte guilty of human rights abuses. Two weeks later, the Philippine National Police held a public forum announcing a new “Police Community Relations” program in the U.S, to include the deployment of Philippine National Police (PNP) officials on both the East and West Coast.

This past Friday, October 5, at another public forum at the Philippine consulate in New York, members of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, an ICHRP member organization, as well as the Malaya Movement, confronted the PNP press conference to denounce Duterte’s killings and the presence of the PNP in the U.S, under the cry of “No War Criminals in the U.S.”. While Bayan and Malaya members raised their concerns, Duterte supporters at the scene shouted down the activists, resorting to physical aggression and assault against the protestors, resulting in injuries.

This most recent attack on Filipinos and allies outside the Philippines is a reflection of the weakening and desperate grasp of a U.S.-backed Duterte regime struggling to gain international support amidst growing international condemnation and organizing against the Duterte dictatorship. This summer, Duterte threatened deportation of Sister Pat, an Australian missionary in the Philippines who has dedicated over 20 years of her life to serving alongside farmers and indigenous people in their fight for self-determination. Similarly, Australian human rights advocate and Professor Gil Boehringer was deported from the Philippines this year, along with three United Methodist missionaries who also had recently gone on an international solidarity mission and recorded human rights violations perpetrated by the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

The incident in New York is not the first harassment of Philippine human rights defenders on U.S. soil this year. During ICHRP-US and the Malaya Movement’s Stop the Killings Speaking Tour, state repression and the collaboration between the US and Duterte clearly emerged in the torture, harassment and deportation of peace activist Jerome Aba — Chairperson of the Suara Bangsamoro. He was targeted because he could speak to how U.S. aid and support in the destruction of Marawi and Duterte’s Martial Law was affecting the Filipino people.

Most recently, after the International People’ Tribunal found Trump and Duterte “guilty,” Duterte’s office was outspoken in calling the tribunal a “sham” despite the Tribunal’s reliance on the testimonies of victims, public officials, expert witnesses, lawyers and professionals from Philippines and around the globe. Duterte further threatened international human rights activists, saying, “ If I fell short, then as a Filipino, that is your right to criticize and even slam me if you want. I would never, never take it against you. . . . These Caucasians, they go here to look for our faults . . . Go ahead, one day if you run out of targets, and you want live fire and live human target, I will send three there, all of them white.”   

While Duterte makes an appeal to the colonial history of the Philippines to repudiate European criticism and target international activists, Duterte’s programs and administration have ultimately remained subservient to one of the most blatantly racist and colonialist Presidents in Donald Trump. In practice, Duterte has not only sought and won the admiration of Trump for his war on drugs, but has ignored his early claims to abhor U.S. intervention in the Philippines, claiming $184.5 million in military AID from the U.S. in 2018, and recently agreeing to an increase in joint military operations between the U.S. and Philippine military. In reality, Duterte’s remarks are but a feeble facade to cover up the power of the international & multinational movement against his fascism.

The recent moves of Duterte to align with the former and current presidential powers — Marcos, Arroyo, and Trump — along with attempts to silence human rights defenders and any political opposition, and his new community police relations program in the U.S. — all indicate the instability of the Duterte Administration, the growing strength of the people’s movement in the Philippines and the relevance of international solidarity in challenging this worsening dictatorship. In light of these developments, ICHRP-US expresses its solidarity and support of human rights defenders in New York and in the Philippines and calls for a higher and more determined struggle across the U.S. against U.S. military aid to the Philippines and against U.S. support of Duterte’s dictatorship. The U.S.-Duterte Regime cannot silence us: No PNP in the U.S.! Long live International Solidarity!

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Please donate to the International People’s Tribunal here and carry on its victories.

Statement of Solidarity for the International People’s Tribunal on U.S.-Backed Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s Crimes Against the Filipino People

Warm Greetings!

Less than a year ago, over 40 organizations launched ICHRP-US, calling for an end to dictatorship in the Philippines and declaring that “resistance is our right and solidarity is our duty.” Since our launch, we organized the Stop the Killings Speaking Tour: The People’s Caravan for Peace and Justice in the Philippines, and have continued forward in building and expanding our coalition, and in waging a campaign against U.S. military aid to the Duterte dictatorship.

At this moment, ICHRP-US would like to especially raise the recent indictment of former General Palparan, “The Butcher,” as a clear victory on the part of the people’s movement in the Philippines, while also recognizing there are many still suffering to whom justice has not been delivered. Palparan’s arrest comes in a moment in which one of Palparan’s greatest supporters, U.S.-backed former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, is now returning to power as Speaker of the House  at the delight of another U.S.-backed dictator, Rodrigo Duterte. While fascism in the Philippines heightens, the people raise the call for peace and justice and wield the truth to reach victory in the case of Palparan, who is only symbolic of many in the Armed Forces of the Philippines who have not yet been tried.

As people based in the United States, we bring to the International People’s Tribunal (IPT) our outright condemnation of Trump’s support of Duterte’s human rights violations, and rise in opposition to the military aid that goes to the Philippines. As the amount of aid to the Philippines this year alone has now risen to 184.5 million dollars through Operation Pacific Eagle and investment in the Philippine National Police’s anti-narcotics operations, people in the U.S. continue to lack basic social services and housing while our tax dollars go to violence in the Philippines. In light of this, abhorrence seems too light of a word to describe our outrage at the injustice of Trump and Duterte’s practices — only our actions towards justice can speak properly of our determination.

Carolyn Forche, a poet and human rights advocate who covered human rights in El Salvador, once noted to herself: “It is not your right to feel powerless. People better than you have felt more powerless.” In the same vein, ICHRP-US Chairperson Pam Tau Lee expressed: “As people from the United States who find the people’s movement in the Philippines deeply powerful, and as people whose tax dollars fund grave human rights violations in the Philippines, we cannot for a moment feel powerless in our ability to make change. We can only forge ahead and continue to organize at a higher and more courageous level. As our member organizations from the United States watch IPT from afar, we are honored and decisive to deepen and strengthen our commitment to stop the killings in the Philippines, say no to another fascist dictatorship, and strengthen our organizing against U.S. military aid to the Philippines.” Resistance is our right and solidarity is our duty!

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To donate to ICHRP-US’s delegation to IPT, please go here. For more information on this year’s IPT, visit the official page on the ICHRP Global website,