Arming government’s force multipliers will mean more rights violations

Karapatan opposes President Rodrigo Duterte’s proposal to arm force multipliers of the Philippine National Police (PNP), a call he stated during the launch of the PNP’s Global Coalition of Lingkod Bayan Advocacy support groups and force multipliers last week, as it will spell more human rights violations in context of the numerous reported cases of extrajudicial killings especially with police and military’s oft-use of the “nanlaban” narrative, arbitrary arrests and detention, torture and other grave violations.

Regular enlisted personnel of the PNP and the Armed Forces of the Philippines themselves have been alleged to be responsible for these violations. Employing and arming so-called civilian volunteers, mobilized for the government’s sham drug war and war on dissent, will only promote and worsen the climate of impunity in the country.

Arming them will further weaponize these groups as paramilitaries, which have a long bloody history of human rights violations, for the administration’s whole of nation approach in both campaigns — a tactic that merely uses the population to subvert civilian authority for militarist and fascist objectives and ends.

Instead of heeding the recommendations by rights advocates and the United Nations Human Rights Council through numerous cycles of the Philippines’ Universal Periodic Review to disband and disarm paramilitaries, President Duterte continues to worsen the already dangerous and deadly environment in the country with this proposal.

We call on all human rights advocates, communities and families affected by military and police operations, and freedom-loving Filipinos to oppose this yet another attempt to infringe on people’s rights and fundamental freedoms.

Cristina Palabay
Karapatan Secretary General