Maria Ressa visits San Francisco Joins the Malaya Movement in Calling for an End to Duterte’s Abuse of Power
U.S. Congress Urged to Hold Hearings on Philippine Human Rights Abuses
San Francisco- In a press conference hosted by MALAYA Movement in San Francisco last Monday, Maria Ressa warned that “In this day and age silence is complicity.” Ressa, known as Time Magazine’s Person of the Year and Rappler.com CEO, and six other Rappler executives were recently charged under Duterte’s Anti-Dummy Law. The MALAYA Movement sees through the Duterte administration’s politically-motivated scheme to bankrupt and eventually close down Rappler, jail its executives, and create a chilling effect on press freedom.
Despite the barrage of attacks from the Duterte administration and intense online harassment, Ressa remains resolute in holding the Philippine government to account for its role in the country’s worsening human rights crisis. In an interview Ressa continued, “In the end it is the hope that Filipinos who are afraid to speak, to exercise their rights, who are afraid to demand justice, accountability, that we will understand that silence is consent. That being silent right now weakens our democracy. That is is your battle, and the battle is now.”
In addition, Malaya Arevalo of the MALAYA Movement and panel speaker at the press conference emphasized, “Continuous attacks against Ressa only indicate a growing desperation to conceal Duterte’s fascist antics being brought to light in spite of his efforts to sow disinformation among the greater public. Communities here in the US will continue to organize to oppose any repression online as well as on the ground where rampant killings of urban poor, peasant leaders, trade unionists, activists and human rights defenders continue to occur.”
Under Duterte’s fascism, human rights reports have recorded over 29,000 killings resulting from the drug war, and half a million displaced in the island of Mindanao which has been placed under martial law for the past three years. Journalists and human rights defenders alike face not only threats and harassment but can also be counted among the 222 victims of extrajudicial killings under President Duterte.
The MALAYA Movement join’s Ressa’s call to battle and is demanding U.S. legislators to advocate on behalf of Ressa and Rappler to the Philippine embassy as well as to hold a congressional hearing to end U.S. support for the Duterte regime. Hundreds will converge at the nation’s capital for the MALAYA Movement’s National Summit for Human Rights and Democracy in the Philippines on April 6 and 7, and will join the United States chapter of the International Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP-US) lobbying days on April 8 and 9. The MALAYA Movement urges all to continue using their voices to defend democracy in the Philippines.
Ahead of Ressa’s arrival in the Philippines, community members said they will not stand for her arrest nor continued harassment by the Duterte administration, nor the escalation of attacks against anyone speaking out against his tyranny.
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