Coveting after autocratic rule, President Ferdinand E.Marcos signed Proclamation No. 1081 (PROC. 1081) dated 21 September 1972 placing the entire Philippines under Martial Law. Following this declaration, the US-Marcos regime wasted no time arresting activists and shutting down hundreds of institutions deemed critical of government policies.
Hundreds of media outlets were closed down and Marcos assumed both legislative and executive powers. It did not take long before the impoverished many sank further into the abyss of economic cataclysm. Contrary to the delusional claims of Marcosian worshipers about the Philippines being among the richest countries in Asia that time, it was actually during this period that our country saw itself overtaken by one Asian country to another in terms of development.
Fast forward to 2019, the Philippines is still trapped within the pangs of Fascism and constant economic crisis. The US-Duterte regime seeks to outdo the dictator Ferdinand Marcos by turning the Philippines into Asia’s largest killing field. Ordinary people and activists alike risk illegal arrests, trumped-up charges, torture and execution.
On 5 July 2019, Bryan Conje, the son of a Saudi-based OFW was found lifeless after being shot by the Navotas police. No stable jobs await OFWs returning to the Philippines. Only death, terror and misery abound. Similar cases of killings in the name of Duterte’s “war against drugs” and “crimes” have resulted in casualties numbering thousands.
Most of the bloody operations conducted by the police target poor communities. Meanwhile, Mayor Sanchez who was convicted in the rape and murder of UP students along with other big time criminals from wealthy families were let loose by Duterte from incarceration.
The bloodbath in the countryside is just as worse as in the cities. From 2017, rights groups have already recorded 87 people killed in the island of Negros alone. Fifteen (15) of which were shot in just one week by military and police elements during the last week of July this year. It is no coincidence that these violent killings are rampant in places where Duterte sends additional military and police forces to contain perceived “threats against national security.”
Duterte has been augmenting the number of troops in Negros since November 2018 when he signed Memorandum Order 32. This is just a part of Duterte’s Executive Order 70 institutionalizing the “Whole-of-Nation Approach.” With most of the slain coming from poor peasant communities fighting for their small farms against big wealth landowners and landgrabbers, it is President Duterte himself that should be branded as the number one threat to national security.
In accordance with EO70, the Duterte regime has likewise formed the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict under the guidance of officials from both AFP and PNP. Attacks against progressive organizations are becoming more brazen even in the arena of public media. The entire state machinery has been parading an array of fake news and false information to delegitimize the advocacies of people’s defenders.
In seminars conducted by NTF attaches overseas, red tagging and vilification of Migrante International is prevalent. Military Attache – Col. Antonio Faro Olaguera and Philippine Embassy Second Secretary Allan Hencel U. Campos have been visiting international schools in Saudi Arabia where there is a significant number of Filipino students to conduct such seminars.
Using government resources, the Duterte regime is driving a wedge among overseas Filipino communities to prevent OFWs from finding out the truth about the government’s rotten labour export programme.
At a time when the armed conflict between Saudi and Yemen has already escalated into a full-blown ground battle deeper inside Saudi territory as early as June this year, Philippine embassy and consulate officials should have been spending their time working on concrete contingency measures to secure 40 thousand Filipinos in border regions.
For more than two decades, Migrante International has upheld the rights and welfare of overseas Filipino workers. It has served to amplify the voices of OFWs in distress left unheard and neglected by a government reeked by greed and corruption. We will not stand idly as the Duterte regime intensifies its brutal repression of dissent to prevent us from raising the legitimate grievances of Filipino migrants.
As we march with democratic forces to magnify our resistance against Duterte’s Fascist rule, let us remember those who have gone before us in their sacrifices. Altogether, we shall smash the Duterte regime’s abuse of power and make him accountable for his crimes. More than ever before, let us stand united and surge forward to wrest power from those that seek to oppress and slay us. Only the people’s active resistance will save our country from being thrown back into the bloody clutches of absolute tyranny and dictatorship.
Never again! Never forget!
Demokrasya, hindi diktadura!