2021 Karapatan Year-end Report on the Human Rights Situation in the Philippines

Photo by Carlo Manalansan/Bulatlat

Into the final year of the tyrant Duterte: Continuing fascism met with people's resistance

When Rodrigo Duterte took the presidency in 2016, he made two particular promises to the Filipino people: that “change is coming,” and that his term would be a bloody one.

President Duterte’s promise of change was to continue the same anti-people policies and programs — no different than those that came before — and he carried on this promise with more venom, blatant corruption, and rapacious governance. For the past five and a half years, his cruelty included extrajudicial killings, torture, massacres, illegal arrests and imprisonment, disappearances, bombings, strafing and other rights violations that horrified people here and abroad, even as the COVID-19 pandemic ravaged the country.

Killing was legalized as an open State policy under the Duterte administration, and the epidemic of State violence and terror continued to rival the COVID-19 pandemic in its growing death toll. In no less than his sixth and last State of the Nation Address last July 2021, President Duterte’s voice rang loud and clear before the entire nation as he taunted the International Criminal Court (ICC) and reiterated his marching order to the police and the military: “shoot them dead.”

Nonetheless, the broad resistance to President Duterte’s tyrannical and murderous rule steadily gained ground by the day. The people’s final verdict on his legacy would be fascist governance, impunity for human rights violations and war crimes, shameless plunder of the nation’s coffers amid a crisis, worsening poverty and inequality, and the criminal neglect of the people’s welfare — all these cast in stone.

You can also read and download the full report through this link.