An international group accused Rodrigo Duterte as not only the new face of martial law in the Philippines but that his government has caused more human rights violations than the 14-year Ferdinand Marcos dictatorship.
In a statement marking the 49th anniversary of the imposition of Marcos’ martial law, the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP) enumerated various cases of rights violations in the country.
As Marcos declared martial law in 1972 to counter alleged threats by the then newly re-established Communist Party of the Philippines, Duterte imposed martial rule in Mindanao on the pretext of fighting armed groups that took over Marawi City.
ICHRP said that Duterte’s own martial rule led to an alarming increase in human rights violations that were not limited to the displacement of Moros and the bombing and destruction of Marawi City.
“Indigenous people’s schools (in Mindanao) have been shuttered and their communities remain under attack and occupation by the Philippine Army…While peasants in Negros and Panay islands are being arrested and massacred as they defend their right to till and their ancestral domain,” ICHRP global chairperson Peter Murphy said.
Murphy added that Duterte has also unleashed a war against the poor through his drug war that claimed more than 27,000 lives, including children.
“Worse, the country is now one of the most dangerous places in the world for human rights defenders,” Murphy said.
Unlike most presidents after the 1986 uprising that ousted Marcos, Duterte is an avowed Marcos admirer who permitted the dictator’s controversial internment at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Heroes’ Cemetery).
Murphy said that justice is yet to be served to the victims of both martial law impositions, as the Duterte government refuses to cooperate with the formal investigation launched by the International Criminal Court based in The Hague, The Netherlands.
“We call on Duterte and his cohorts to end the repression now in the Philippines and to take accountability for all the human rights violations they committed against the Filipino people. We challenge him to face the ICC,” Murphy said.
The ICHRP also called on governments of the international community to stop supporting Duterte through military aid to the Philippines. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)