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Duterte’s Extension of Martial Law Equals De Facto Dictatorship in the Philippines

By approving a 3rd extension of martial law in Mindanao at Duterte’s request, the Philippine Congress is giving its blessing to Duterte and his rabid dogs at the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) joined by U.S. military to continue harassing, arresting, and murdering human rights activists and community members in Mindanao. More than 356,964 bombs have been dropped in Mindanao, primarily decimating Marawi City and forcibly displacing more than 432,380 people, especially indigenous people from their ancestral lands.  The extension of martial law essentially institutionalizes dictatorship in Mindanao, betrays the Filipino people’s aspirations for freedom and democracy, and violates human rights. We echo the people’s demand to lift martial law immediately.

The approval by both houses of Congress of the extension of the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus — which would allow the government to arrest persons of interest without a warrant–proves that the U.S.-Duterte regime has consolidated its power in the various bodies of government, making a mockery of democratic checks and balances in the Philippines. The 3rd extension of martial law based solely on Duterte’s claim that “rebellion still persists” and “public safety requires the continuation of martial law” opens the door for Duterte to declare martial law across the whole country and belies the truth that it is Duterte’s forces themselves which are terrorizing innocent communities and compromising the people’s safety.  And to top it off, efforts to change the Philippine constitution continue to bulldoze forward, in an attempt to extend control by Duterte and his cohorts indefinitely and further entrench government corruption. We can already foresee that martial law will make a sham of the upcoming 2019 mid-term elections as well as result in rampant human rights violations.  

This level of corruption and abuse of power by Duterte is bound to fall, just as the Marcos dictatorship did, at the hands of the rising movement against tyranny and fascism. Duterte is digging his own political grave as he continues down his fascist path showing the greatest disdain for human rights, national sovereignty, and democracy.  

It is our duty to take a stand against the worsening state of human rights in the Philippines and Duterte’s acceleration towards a full-fledged dictatorship. We know what we are fighting for! We believe the semi-feudal and semi-colonial system in the Philippines must be replaced by a truly democratic and socialist system where there are enough jobs that pay workers a living wage so Filipinos do not have to leave their families behind to find jobs in another country, where the crops grown will sustain and feed the population, where everyone’s human rights are upheld and the government truly serves the majority of people. We ask all Filipinos and solidarity allies and friends to stand with us in this fight against the violent fascism of the U.S.-Duterte regime!