We Are Not Free Under Duterte’s Tyranny

We Are Not Free Under Duterte’s Tyranny


On the 120th anniversary of Philippine Independence from Spain on June 12, Malaya Movement joins the Filipino people in saying #HINDIpendence. / No independence. Hindi tayo #Malaya. / We are not free. We call for peace and justice in the Philippines and protest the misogyny, violence, corruption and fascism of Duterte.

In the past two years, the economic and political situation in the Philippines has deteriorated under Duterte’s presidency. The drug war killings, claiming more than 20,000 lives, and the attack on lumad peoples, human rights activists and the media continue. Three Catholic priests have been slain for their service to the poor. The most recent killing of Father Richmond Nilo happened just two days ago on June 10.  Duterte’s personal appointees are corrupt and his social media propagandists spin lies and fake news.

Despite claims of a thriving economy, the majority of Filipinos are left in crushing poverty. According to Ibon Foundation, the job crisis has worsened under Duterte where close to 700,000 Filipinos lost their jobs between April 2017 – 2018. This is not including 35,000 from the closure of Boracay this year. The looming jeepney phase-out scheme could wipe out the livelihood of two million families. Now, 56 million Filipinos live on only Php100 per person per day. Duterte has pushed more widespread contractualization of jobs, which further destabilizes the workforce and forces more than 6,000 Filipinos to migrate abroad in search of jobs. Women’s rights groups continue to condemn Duterte’s outright degradation of women. But his sexist language and actions divert the public away from from the real issues of the country.  

Duterte is the biggest threat to Philippine independence.

We now have Chinese missile launchers and bomber planes landing in disputed islands in the West Philippines Sea. And despite Duterte 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. Duterte’s idea of an independent foreign policy is to subordinate the interests and welfare of the Filipino people to more foreign powers, particularly China and the United States.

In these dark times, we remember our people’s history of resistance. It was only through organizing and the unified efforts of the Filipino people that we waged an armed revolution against Spain and victoriously claimed our independence. To truly commemorate this day, we Filipinos overseas must continue our fight for genuine independence and democracy. Though we are thousands of miles away, we are part of a growing movement of U.S. based Filipinos and allies calling for peace, justice and genuine democracy for the Philippines. We must build a protest movement to hold Duterte accountable. We also must demand our legislators here to cut U.S. military aid towards the Philippines. We don’t want our hard earned tax dollars are to be used to fund Duterte’s brutal regime which is supported by the Trump administration. On #HINDIndependence Day, we collectively resist the violence and the tyranny of the Duterte regime until the Philippines is truly free.

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MALAYA U.S. Movement Against Killings and Dictatorship, and for Democracy in the Philippines, is a U.S. based alliance of Filipino immigrants, Filipino Americans and allies against the Duterte regime and for a just peace and genuine democracy in the Philippines.

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