(This statement was disseminated at the Philippine Independence Day Parade in New York City on June 3rd, 2018 as part of Malaya’s March for Human Rights & Democracy in the Philippines march and rally.)
This is our message and appeal to everyone, especially to all patriotic Filipinos, here at the Philippine Independence Day Parade in New York City. In the past two years, the economic and political situation in the Philippines has and continues to deteriorate under president Rodrigo Duterte. He promised heaven for Filipinos, but instead what we got is a hellish war on the poor and a de facto dictatorship.
We are holding a “Black Sunday Protest” to symbolize the dark times our motherland is now in, under Duterte. We strongly condemn and reject the brutality, fascism, puppetry and tyranny of Duterte’s regime. We also want to let our kababayans and everyone else know that there’s a growing movement from U.S. based Filipinos and allies calling for peace, justice and genuine democracy for the Philippines.
Many hoped for genuine change as Duterte promised many things: fighting corruption; ending forced migration; and building a peaceful, independent, and prosperous Philippines. Everything turned out to be a lie except his “war on drugs” that is now looking more like Hitler’s holocaust and his own dictatorial ambitions.
Under Duterte– same old corruption, different faces. Duterte’s personal appointees— mostly his friends and cronies— are living lavishly off the people’s money: Department of Tourism’s Wanda Teo-Tulfo’s Php 60 million, Solicitor General Jose Calida Php150 million contracts for his private security agency, just to name a few.
Despite claims of a thriving economy, the majority of Filipinos are left in crushing poverty. Close to 400,000 Filipinos lost their jobs in April 2017, including 35,000 from the closure of Boracay alone. This is on top of the looming jeepney phaseout scheme that would wipe out the livelihood of two million families. Now, 56 million Filipinos live around Php100 per person per day. Duterte has pushed more widespread contractualization and more than 6,000 Filipinos still migrate abroad in search of jobs.
One of Duterte’s biggest claims is the promotion and assertion of an independent foreign policy. Now we have Chinese missile launchers and bomber planes landing in disputed islands in the West Philippines Sea. And despite all the cursing against Obama, we still have 3,000 US military troops, mainly US Special Operations Forces, on our land with the US facility now being constructed in Pampanga. Instead of an independent foreign policy, we ended up serving two foreign masters, the United States and China.
Even his war on drugs turned out to be fake. 20,000 were murdered in cold blood, including innocent youth like Kian Delos Santos, Carl Arnaiz and many others. Duterte’s war on drugs is targeting everyone except the actual drug lords like Kerwin Espinosa, Peter Lim, Peter Co, even his own son and former Vice Mayor of Davao, Paulo Duterte.
Duterte’s thirst for blood extends towards the opposition and all who criticize his policies– 141 activists, mostly peasant leaders, indigenous rights activists, trade unionists, youth and even church people, including Fr. Tito Paez and the most recent case of Fr. Mark Ventura. 543 political prisoners, including labor organizer Maoj Maga, activist Ferdinand Castillo, Opposition Leila De Lima and many others. He has unleashed an all out war against suspected communists.
Despite this gloomy picture, the people are fighting back. Last February, thousands of students staged a nationwide walk out to protest Duterte’s tyrannical rule. Last May 1st, 150,000 workers took to the streets to hold Duterte accountable. Today, hundreds have joined our march to say enough is enough!
Even though we are thousands of miles away, we have a lot to contribute to the struggle. First, we must build a broad protest movement here in the United States against the Duterte regime, just like the days of loud protest from the US against the Marcos dictatorship which contributed to its toppling. Second, we must demand our legislators here to cut the U.S. military aid towards the Philippines, our hard earned tax dollars that are being used to fund Duterte’s brutal regime which is supported by the Trump administration. We call on all patriotic Filipinos and allies to join the struggle for justice, human rights and genuine democracy in the Philippines.
This coming July 23, Monday, we shall come together again and hold a People’s State of the Nation Address to counter Duterte’s 3rd State of the Nation Address and expose the real state of the nation. This is for Kian Delos Santos, for Fr. Mark Ventura, for the countless others who have fallen victim under this murderous, fascist regime.
Makibaka! Huwag matakot! (Dare to struggle! Don’t be afraid!)
Dismantle Duterte’s fascist dictatorship!
The people, united, will never be defeated!