Despite the dire conditions of the COVID19 global pandemic, the U.S. war machine is multiplying its profit through massive arms deals to the Philippines, Egypt, India, Hungary, and the United Arab Emirates, totalling billions of U.S. dollars. The Philippines sale alone would cost the Philippine government from ₱22.7 billion to ₱75.8 billion. It is clear that the priorities of both the U.S. and the Philippines are to continue its militarist approach to the pandemic, with the Duterte regime spending funds on U.S. weapons rather than the massive healthcare needs of the people. The reprehensible actions on the part of the U.S. in selling these weapons to a known violent and fascist government with a horrible human rights record shows that the U.S. will continue to give support the dictator Duterte, as long as he remains subservient to U.S. interests.
BAYAN USA, a multisectoral alliance of 30 organizations across the United States staged actions in different cities calling to “Stop the Arms Sale to the Duterte” and for the Philippines to prioritize “Healthcare Not Warfare!” We joined efforts with our allies to write our representatives to join Rep. Ilhan Omar’s “Dear Colleague Letter” to urge U.S. Congress to halt the arms sales to countries internationally recognized to have violated international human rights and international humanitarian law. However, despite our various efforts, the U.S. Department of Defense will continue with the arms deals in order to maintain U.S. hegemony and control over world resources through warfare, in line with U.S. imperialist policies.
The U.S. has already provided the Duterte regime with millions of U.S. tax dollars to fund his death squads, namely, the Philippine National Police(PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines(AFP). The weapons sold by the U.S. will exponentially increase the human rights violations under Duterte, which has surpassed that of the infamous Marcos dictatorship–reaching nearly 30,000 killings under the guise of the drug war.
Duterte continues down the path towards full dictatorship, especially with his iron fist approach to COVID19, reminiscent of martial law with Duterte’s granted emergency powers and military lockdown on Luzon. Duterte’s Oplan Kapanatagan (Philippines counterinsurgency program) and Executive Order 70 (whole of nation approach) have already resulted in mass arrests of human rights defenders and everyday people who are delivering food and supplies to communities in need and ignored by the Philippine government. The House of Representatives and Senate have both approved the new anti-terrorism law, which will only further the violent crackdown on activists and progressive organizations.
“We have already seen what happens when state security forces are given more power. Ordinary citizens criticizing the president and his anti-people policies have been served subpoenas or have been put under surveillance, harassed, and arrested, even for satirical posts. The bill’s overbroad definition of ‘terrorism’ and ‘terroristic acts’ along with the removal of penalties for law enforcement effectively criminalizes any and all forms of dissent and opposition to anti-people policies and acts of government as a form of ‘terrorism’ and will make it highly prone to abuse,” stated Karapatan Deputy Secretary General Roneo Clamor.
There is no justification for the Philippine government to spend billions of pesos on an expensive and unnecessary U.S. arms deals for weaponry such as attack helicopters, missiles, and rockets, when the crisis at the forefront in the Philippines right now is the lack of healthcare and the general welfare of the Filipino people who lack proper shelter and food, jobs and education, because of the semi-colonial, semi-feudal conditions that leave the country in a state of poverty. The Filipino people need a government that responds responsibly to their immediate needs and address the long standing problems of feudalism, bureaucrat capitalism, and U.S. imperialism in order for the Philippines to truly be an independent nation.
No Arms Sale to Duterte!
Stop the US War Machine!
Healthcare, Not Warfare!
Sign Petitions Here: https://linktr.ee/BAYANUSA