Today, December 10, 2016, we commemorate the 68th year of the UN Declaration for the Respect of Human Rights amidst worsening human rights violations under an administration that promised the country change.

Human rights are the primary casualties of the Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte administration. The number of poor and small time drug pushers and users killed have been increasing with its “war against drugs.” There have been countless mistaken or merely implicated in the anti-drug operations of the police. Duterte’s blind support of the police, who clearly violated the rights of the victims in its campaign against drugs, has resulted in uncontrolled killings committed by the police, and has worsened its lack of respect for human rights.

The acts of the fascist Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) are similar with that of the police. Under the Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte administration, the mercenary AFP continue to violate human rights in its uninterrupted implementation of the brutal OPlan Bayanihan against the revolutionary movement, despite its declaration of a unilateral ceasefire. The “anti-drug” campaign and the peace and development outreach programs (PDOP) or community organizing for peace and development (COPD) are meant to make it appear that they are not violating the ceasefire while they encamp in communities, implement intelligence operations and go after masses accused of being NPA supporters and active members of progressive mass organizations.

There has been no significant decrease in the number of AFP troops deployed in NEMR. The 401st and 402nd Brigades; 26th, 29th, 30th and 36th IB of the Philippine Army and the 3rd Special Forces of the AFP remain in the region. These troops have been committing human rights abuses against thousands of people within the not less than 70 barrios in the entire region where COPD/PDOP is being implemented. Peoples’ lives are threatened by the encampment of soldiers in the middle of the communities in public facilities like the barangay hall, schools and day care centers, where civilians gather. Barrios are also compelled to allow the establishment military detachments in their areas.

Armed soldiers harass and threaten the people with their home visits and by subjecting residents to interrogation. Lives are directly threatened with “tokhang” committed against those known and believed to have NPA relatives, leaders and active members of progressive organizations in the area. They are also forced into joining its intelligence network against fellow-residents, and/or surrender as NPA, or deceive them with offers of money and gifts such as motorcycles, into surrendering as Red fighters.

The Duterte administration seems blind and deaf to the calls of the people to withdraw AFP troops from their communities and to stop the brutal Oplan Bayanihan. By his consent of such military actions, these troops openly violate his cease fire order.

The administration’s approval or consent of human rights violations is mirrored in its lack of concern for the thousands victimized by brutal human rights abuse during martial law in its endorsement of the burial of the dictator Ferdinand Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani, in the face widespread opposition.

This is also seen in its refusal to release the more than a hundred elderly and sickly political prisoners. He vowed to release them, along with 300 more political prisoners jailed under trumped-up cases, as goodwill measure for the peace talks with the NDFP.

Under these circumstances, the NDFP calls upon the people to uphold and fight for their human rights in the face of continuing and increasingly brutal violations by the Duterte administration. We must not stop exposing the abuses and further strengthen the movement for the absolute respect for human rights.

Struggle for the respect of human rights!
Defend human rights!

Maria Malaya