Karapatan on the International Human Rights Day

The 66th year of the International Human Rights Day will be commemorated in the Philippines by calls for justice for the victims of the US-supported Marcos dictatorship and for the Filipino people to persevere in the struggle against state fascism. 
Now, more than ever, there is great need for organized resistance against the political rehabilitation of the Marcoses and the continuing gross violations of people’s democratic rights. There is a need to be vigilant and to thwart the authoritarian tendencies of the Duterte administration. Now, more than ever, there is great need for the Filipino people to work for a just and lasting peace. 

While hero’s honors were given to the dictator Ferdinand Marcos, martial law victims are still crying out for justice. The Marcoses have yet to return much of the billions which they looted from the nation’s coffers.  The martial law victims still need to be indemnified.

Political prisoners, a vivid imprint of martial law, exist to this day despite commitments and agreements in the GRP-NDFP peace process. The GRP’s use of their release as a gambit in the peace process to exact a bilateral ceasefire makes worse the injustice they have suffered for defending people’s democratic rights. 

Extrajudicial killings of activists and civilians continue under Oplan Bayanihan and in line with the Duterte government’s war against drugs. The poor peasants, indigenous and Moro people, workers, women and the youth remain to be the majority of the victims in brutal military and police operations. 

Despite a unilateral ceasefire declaration from the Duterte government, there has been no let-up in combat operations in rural communities characterized by bombings, indiscriminate firing, threats, harassment, and encampment in homes and schools,. Shocking is the recent appointment of the notorious human rights violator Gen. Eduardo Ano as AFP Chief of Staff who is being held responsible by human rights defenders for the enforced disappearance of Jonas Burgos. Ano is expected to adhere to the same counter-insurgency framework that results in more human rights violations.

Also worrisome are the threat of the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus and the imposition of martial law; the revival of the notorious Philippine Constabulary; and attempts to re-legislate the death penalty. 

Even with the ouster of the US-backed Marcos dictatorship, succeeding regimes maintained the status quo, enjoying the benefits of bureaucrat capitalism, fascism and US puppetry, always hiding under the cloak of ‘democracy’. 

Hunger and poverty worsen as neoliberal policies ravage the domestic economy. Land to the tillers, decent jobs and living wages for the workers, and democratic access to social services remain to be distant realities. While Duterte has proclaimed that he is cutting military and political ties with the US government, he has yet to abrogate the unequal treaties and agreements between the US and the Philippines. State violence continues to be felt, even as the Duterte government has resumed formal peace talks with the NDFP and Moro revolutionary movements. 

We urge Pres. Duterte to pursue with vigor the positive commitments he has made like ending contractualization, shifting to an independent foreign policy, negotiating for just and lasting peace, battling corruption in the bureaucracy, and the likes.    

We call on the President to categorically order the military, police and para-military units to stop the killings. We urge him to immediately abide by his commitment to release all political prisoners. He must put an end to Oplan Bayanihan which perpetrates state terrorism on civilian communities. And he should stop coddling the Marcoses who are inching their way back to Malacanang.

Now, more than ever, we reaffirm our commitment to fight for people’s rights and against all forms of fascist attacks against the Filipino people.

Violation of Civil and Political Rights

under the Rodrigo Duterte Government

July 2016 to November 2016

Based on reports gathered by Karapatan


Table 1:

Violation of Civil & Political Rights

Under the Rodrigo Duterte Government

(July 2016 to November 2016)



No. of Victims

Extrajudicial killing




Frustrated Extrajudicial Killing


Illegal Arrest without Detention


Illegal Arrest and Detention


Illegal Search and Seizure


Physical Assault and Injury


Violation of Domicile


Divestment of Property


Forced Evacuation




Endangerment of, Threat against Civilians due to Indiscriminate Firing, Bombing, Artillery Fire, Landmines, etc


Forced/Fake Surrender


Forced Labor/Involuntary Servitude


Use of Civilians in Police and/or Military Operations as Guides and/or Shield


Use of Schools, Medical, Religious and Other Public Places for Military Purpose


Restriction or Violent Dispersal of Mass Actions, Public Assemblies and Gatherings