December 10, 2020
BAYAN USA condemns to the utmost extent the raids and illegal arrest of activists in the Philippines on International Human Rights Day, proving once again that the Duterte regime is the number one human rights violator in the country.
After questionable search warrants were issued, simultaneous raids happened throughout Metro Manila to apprehend trade union organizers Dennise Velasco, Rodrigo Esparago, Romina Astudillo, Mark Ryan Cruz, Joel Demate and Jaymie Gregorio Jr., as well as journalist Lady Ann Salem, an editor for progressive online news outlet Manila Today and current communication officer of the International Association of Women in Radio and Television.
For these shameful arrests to happen on International Human Rights Day itself sends a clear message that Duterte’s fascist regime has absolutely no regard for human rights and is hellbent on repressing any and all those who speak out against him. These human rights abuses were committed on the heels of a farcical three-day human rights summit held by the Philippine Department of Justice, a pathetic attempt by the Philippine government to put on a show for the international community and prove that they are upholding human rights in the face of mounting international pressure.
The truth, however, will prevail. As Filipinos overseas, we will continue to expose and oppose the lies and atrocities of the Duterte regime to the entire world. No amount of two-faced maneuvering and politicking will wash the blood from their hands and suppress the rage of the Filipino people, who are rising up hand-in-hand with supporters across the globe to demand justice. We condemn the system that enables Duterte and his cronies to exist in the first place, most especially the United States which continues to fund and support the Philippines with millions of dollars worth of military aid and weapons every year.
The gross government neglect and state repression of the Filipino people and the people of the United States do not exist separately from each other. We call on our allies and friends in the United States to link arms in solidarity and join the movement to defend human rights in the Philippines by supporting the Philippine Human Rights Act (PHRA). The PHRA is legislation that will cut US funding to the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the very perpetrators of the recent spate of human rights violations. These tax dollars would be much better spent on basic social services to help the struggling masses in the United States in the face of economic crisis and the surge in COVID-19.
BAYAN USA demands the immediate release of the Human Rights Day 7 and the dropping of the trumped up charges made against them. We join our kababayan all across the world participating in Migrante International’s Global Days of Action call on the Duterte regime to stop the attacks and instead we unite with millions of Filipinos around the world calling for “Jobs, Aid, Services and the Ouster of the Incompetent US-Duterte Regime!” We call for the passage of the PHRA and the ouster of Rodrigo Duterte, recognizing these as steps toward broader systemic change in the Philippines. We remain firm in our commitment to defend people’s rights and build a truly just Philippine society.
#FreeHRDay7 #StoptheAttacks #OustDuterteNow