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Marcos Jr., Duterte, Biden are guilty of war crimes vs the Filipino people!

Editorial | Updates Philippines Vol. VI No. 10 – May 31, 2024

The recent guilty verdict of the International People’s Tribunal against the United States government, Marcos Jr. and Duterte affirms the genuine sentiment of the fighting Filipino masses. The verdict underscores the systematic breaches of international humanitarian law (IHL) that continue unabated under the  so-called ‘counterinsurgency’ operations in the Philippines.

Marcos Jr’s administration, much like Duterte’s, has perpetuated a culture of impunity, employing brutal tactics that target not just armed combatants of the New People’s Army (NPA) but also civilians, activists as well as unarmed consultants and peace negotiators of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP). This systematic violence is a clear violation of IHL, which mandates the protection of civilians in times of war and prohibits indiscriminate violence against communities.

The tribunal’s findings also highlight a disturbing and worsening pattern of extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrests, and enforced disappearances, which have become the hallmark of the current Marcos Jr. administration. State-sponsored terrorism in the Philippines has morphed into a broader war on dissent, leading to thousands of deaths and widespread human rights abuses.

The role of the U.S. Government is inherent in these violations. Marcos Jr. has in fact inherited and, in many ways, expanded this legacy from Duterte with tacit support from the Biden government to deploy military and police forces in aggressive operations and bombing campaigns that often result in civilian casualties.

A critical aspect of this ongoing repression of the Filipino people’s resistance is the recently concluded Balikatan war games which served as a tool for the U.S. to project its military might in the Asia Pacific region, particularly in the context of rising tensions with China. Using the framework of ‘counterinsurgency’, these war games have facilitated and reinforced numerous atrocities and human rights violations. Through the Balikatan exercises, the U.S. has provided the Armed Forces of the Philippines with advanced military training and equipment, which are subsequently used in operations that violate IHL. 

As if the Balikatan war games weren’t enough, the US-Marcos Jr. regime is planning anew an aerial war games between the Philippine Air Force (PAF) and the US Air Force which is scheduled to happen from June 17 to 28 in Pampanga and Pasay City.

The US’s involvement in the Philippines extends beyond military cooperation. It includes substantial financial aid and political support, which have enabled the successive US puppet regimes to sustain its oppressive policies against the Filipino people. This support, despite being framed as assistance for ‘counterterrorism’ efforts and national security, has facilitated the ongoing IHL violations. The International People’s Tribunal’s verdict is a critical condemnation of this complicity.

The tribunal’s verdict is a step towards justice, but it is only the beginning. Ending the cycle of violence in the Philippines requires dismantling the political, economic and social structures that enable these abuses.