On the 47th anniversary of the declaration of martial law in the Philippines by Ferdinand Marcos, we remember the atrocities committed by the dictatorship upon the Filipino people for the 14 years it was in effect. More importantly, we draw inspiration from the people power movement which overthrew the Marcos regime, and today call on the people to continue the legacy of resistance to oust today’s undeclared dictator, Rodrigo Duterte.
Under Duterte, the Philippines has achieved international notoriety for cold-blooded killings, even surpassing the death toll reached during martial law under Marcos, with Duterte’s “drug war” or Oplan Tokhang murders claiming the lives of 30,000 people. This number does not include those murdered under Duterte’s counterinsurgency programs, dubiously named Oplan Kapayapaan (“peace”) and the recent Oplan Kapanatagan (“stability”), which use illegal and discredited tactics of vilifying community organizations and individual activists by labeling them as “terrorists.”
Duterte has also steamrolled his efforts to militarize the entire civilian bureaucracy of the government, by implementing Executive Order 70 (EO 70), appointing former military and police officials to cabinet positions, and forming the so-called National Task Force to End Local Armed Conflict chaired by the President himself. EO 70 gives all government agencies a role in the counterinsurgency program and plan–even while neglecting their responsibility to provide housing health care, education, and other social welfare services that the people need. In effect, EO 70 results in a de facto martial law upon the whole country. This is in addition to Oplan Sauron and Memorandum Order 32 in Negros, Samar, and Bicol, as well as the officially declared martial law in Mindanao.
According to Karapatan-Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights, there have been a recorded 266 victims of politically motivated extrajudicial killings as a direct result of Duterte’s counterinsurgency programs. These programs purposely target unarmed civilians, particularly those standing up against government policies and corporate projects that displace indigenous communities en masse, extract precious resources, and exploit workers and the land for profit. Just this past August, Brandon Lee, Cordillera Human Rights Alliance’s paralegal volunteer and provincial human rights officer in Ifugao, was shot multiple times by alleged elements of the 54th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army (54th IBPA). The attempted murder took place after Brandon had been eroneously marked an “enemy of the state” and the 54th IBPA had begun intensifying its harassment and surveillance of Brandon, coinciding with the commuity’s efforts to oppose the building of a mega-hydropower plant on indigenous land. Originally from San Francisco, California, Brandon moved to the Philippines in 2010 and is the first US citizen to fall victim to the US-Duterte regime’s counterinsurgency program. At this time, Lee is still fighting for his life and is in need of an emergency evacuation for him and his family back to the United States for their safety as well as continued care.
It is no surprise that the National Democratic movement is being attacked. BAYAN and its member organizations, such as GABRIELA and Anakbayan, are all being targeted by state forces, which are threatened by our decades of tireless work to address the issues of the masses and fight for liberation in the Philippines. Duterte’s escalation of fascist measures exposes his desperation to cling to power.
Duterte is a dictator. Everything he has said and done has been at the expense of the Filipino people who feel the brunt of his brutal tyranny.
There is only one solution to this type of tyranny. The people must rise up together across all sectors of society to topple the US-Duterte regime once and for all. We must not wait until a formal declaration of martial law is given to oust the US-Duterte regime. We must build the strength and people power that will force Duterte out–and then we must keep fighting against the rotten system until we achieve genuine freedom and democracy for the Philippines.
We are calling on all supporters and allies to take action to support Brandon and the National Democratic movement in the Philippines by:
- Writing a Support/Solidarity Letter (Here is a template letter to help get it started)
- Making a Video with a Solidarity Message
- Donating HERE to support bringing Brandon Lee back to the Bay Area safely.
Never Again to a Fascist Dictatorship!
Fight Tyranny! Resist Duterte’s dictatorship!
Stop the Killings! Stop the Attacks!
Justice for Brandon Lee! Save Brandon Now!
End Martial Law in Mindanao Now!