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General Campaigns
End the Killings. Uphold Human Rights. Defend Democracy -iDEFEND
General Campaigns
Thursday, 22 September 2016 16:17

END THE KILLINGS. UPHOLD HUMAN RIGHTS.
DEFEND DEMOCRACY
Photo_by_PhilRights

Photo by PhilRights

Today is the International Day of Peace.

Development and peace go together, and this is why the United Nations sees as central to the achievement of sustainable development the drastic reduction of all forms of violence, the promotion of the rule of law, and equal access to justice for all.

This day is especially significant for our country since for the last three months, the country has been wracked by seeming government-sponsored violence and lawlessness, by a war the administration has declared, ostensibly against drugs but which has become a war against poor and marginalized Filipinos. Since the election of President Rodrigo Duterte, over 3000 people, practically all of them alleged drug users from the poor sector of Philippine society, have been subjected to extra-judicial execution either by the police or by vigilante groups.  While President Duterte’s subordinates invent ever more complex arguments to exonerate him, he  has made little attempt to conceal his preference for the extra-judicial execution of suspected drug dealers and users and his impatience with due process.  He has also enthusiastically given the green light to vigilantes to shoot pushers and users. And he has made it very clear that he does not believe in rehabilitation, which is the principal policy of all other governments towards users.

Not surprisingly, the president’s approach to the drug problem has earned him widespread notoriety internationally, to which he has responded by cursing his critics, including world leaders, and threatening to take the Philippines out of the United Nations.

While the police and vigilante groups go on a killing spree, his rabid followers intimidate those who stand for human rights and due process, branding them as protectors of drug lords.

Adding to the spreading sense of threat to basic rights among the citizenry is the president’s determination to bury the remains of dictator Ferdinand Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani.  By enshrining the dead dictator as a hero, this move would legitimize his 14-year reign of terror, from 1972 to 1986, with its countless violations of human rights, political rights, and economic and social rights. It would constitute an airbrushing of history.

Democracy is under threat today.

In Sept. 4, the President has put the whole country under a State of Emergency due to lawless violence, indefinitely. Recently, we witnessed the most vivid manifestation of the failure of democracy being the Malacanang-directed ouster of Senator de Lima as head of the Justice Committee.  This is the latest move of  the Executive  to gain total control of Congress.  As for the president’s stance toward the Supreme Court, the whole country witnessed how he angrily threatened to declare martial law when the Court asserted its authority in the investigation of judges that Malacanang had linked to drugs.

Forty four years ago today, Marcos declared martial law.  Today, we face a similar  if not a greater threat to our lives, liberties, and democratic rights .  These rights, for which so many of our people fought and died for, are enshrined in our constitution.  We cannot allow anyone to take those rights away from us.

Thus, on this International Day of Peace, we demand that the Duterte administration put an end to extra-judicial killings. We demand that this administration:

·       respect human rights and due process,

·       refrain from subverting the separation of powers,

·       uphold democratic processes instead of curtailing them.

But above all, we call on our fellow citizens to join us in defense of our rights, our liberties, our democracy.  For as the old saying goes, “The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is that good women and men should stand by and do nothing.”

(Statement of iDefend Coalition, Sept. 21, 2016)

Last Updated on Thursday, 22 September 2016 16:31
 
Anti-mining advocates launch fresh bid for alternative mining law
General Campaigns
Monday, 22 August 2016 19:10
Alyansa Tigil Mina
PRESS RELEASE

Anti-mining advocates launch fresh bid for alternative mining law

MANILA, 22 August 2016  – Civil society network Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) today launched a  series of mobilizations and other actions this week to push for the  passage of the Alternative Minerals Management Bill.

A highlight  of their solidarity week of actions, set to coincide with an  international mining conference, will be Senator Risa Hontiveros’ filing  of the AMMB in the Senate on Thursday.

Hontiveros,  who led the filing of a 2013 petition to the Supreme Court which  challenged the constitutionality of the 1995 Mining Act, said she  supports ATM’s call to suspend all mining operations in the country and  comprehensively review all existing mining applications.

“I also  support the call for a thorough investigation on the economic benefits  of mining. Once and for all, let the facts speak for themselves if the  mining industry truly serves the strategic interests and welfare of our  nation,” she added.
Last Updated on Monday, 22 August 2016 19:12
 
AMRSP Official Statement on the Extra-Judicial Killings
General Campaigns
Monday, 22 August 2016 19:04
ASSOCIATION OF MAJOR RELIGIOUS SUPERIORS
IN THE PHILIPPINES
OFFICIAL STATEMENT ON THE EXTRA-JUDICIAL KILLINGS


We, the members of the ASSOCIATION OF MAJOR RELIGIOUS SUPERIORS IN THE PHILIPPINES, acknowledge our active role in being a visible force and a prophetic voice, in participating in social life, in working for the common good. This was a role taken by the Lord Jesus himself when he quoted the prophet Isaiah as he began his ministry: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord” (Luke 4:18–19).

It is this role that we exercise when we look around at what has been happening in our country in these past two months: we have seen a consistent surge in the number of extrajudicial killings, now about a thousand, and counting. Most of these deaths are related to the problem of illegal drugs—alleged drug pushers or users being put to death in the name of vigilante “justice,” but all these bereft of warrant of arrest or proof of guilt.

In the midst of this alarming situation, as a group of religious and consecrated persons, we make our stand.

We express our full support for the government’s serious crusade against the problem of illegal drugs in our country. We admire the leadership that the President has taken in this campaign and the determination of the people under him in working to rid our society of such menace.

Nevertheless, we are alarmed at the continued extrajudicial killings, which seem to go unchecked, without trial or investigation.
Last Updated on Monday, 22 August 2016 19:08
 
Statement Against Attacks on Women's Dignity
General Campaigns
Monday, 22 August 2016 18:55

Statement Against Attacks on Women's Dignity

1_copyIn a low-handed attempt to derail investigations into the killing of suspected drug peddlers and dependents in the country, President Duterte has accused Senator Leila de Lima of being immoral, an adulterer, with links to the illegal drugs trade. The President is especially scathing in his attacks on women critics. Not only does he hurl accusations left and right as if there are no laws on evidence governing this country, accusations against women are also painted with personal malice—something you don’t hear against male critics. Demonstrating a conduct unbecoming of a head of state, indeed, strutting like a common brute, a bully, the President resorts to name calling when he should be presenting legal arguments and facts to support his policies.

Why does he find it necessary to readily label critics before giving proof? He does it to put opposition figures in a box where he could render them not human- when labeling critics as immoral or adulterous or drug suspects, it removes their dignity, their humanity. In the eyes of society, they become a social disease that needs to be eradicated. So follows soon after, critics also become victims of the heinous crime of murder. We know too well from the labeling of Jews by the Nazis, Tutsis as “cockroaches” in Rwanda, even activists as communists by the late dictator Marcos, results the familiar massacres and other crimes against humanity. Duterte starts with unsubstantiated accusations that end in cardboard signs. We are thus gravely alarmed that if this accusations are the kind of intelligence dirty data requested and used by the President to malign and destroy his critics, what sort of harmful information is gathered and passed on regarding drug suspects to the rank and file of the PNP and/or to the local government officials and personnel to justify EJKs, as well as intensify a coercive environment and a culture of fear.

As more people begin to question his methods we expect more tirades and threats from this man. But what will go down in history are the courageous women and men that speak out against this administration’s excesses-- at the frontline are Senator de Lima and Chief Justice Sereno. iDEFEND extols their example and stand with them amidst overwhelming adversity, amidst attacks by no less than the President himself. We stand with them in the deafening silence of the rest of society. We dedicate to them these words that gave meaning to the struggle of a generation against Martial Law, by the late Lean Alejandro: “In the line of fire is a place of honor”. Mabuhay po kayo at maraming salamat po.
_____________________________________________________________________
In Defense of Human Rights and Dignity Movement (iDEFEND) is a growing broad coalition of non-government organizations (NGOs), people’s organizations (POs), individual HRDs, human rights lawyers, religious sector and members of the academe which came together to defend and assert human rights for all.
Last Updated on Monday, 22 August 2016 19:04
 
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