Karapatan urges Filipinos to rise against Duterte’s dictatorship and de facto martial rule on 35th anniversary of People Power

On the commemoration of the 35th anniversary of the EDSA People Power uprising, human rights alliance Karapatan called on Filipinos to “rise against the fascist dictatorship of Rodrigo Duterte and his de facto martial law,” as Karapatan joined martial law victims, various human rights advocates, and progressive formations in marching to the People Power Monument to commemorate the four-day uprising that led to the ouster of dictator Ferdinand Marcos in 1986.

“Remembering the legacy of the EDSA People Power uprising 35 years ago and the anti-dictatorship struggle is more urgent now more than ever with the Marcoses announcing their nefarious plans to further creep back to power and in the face of another murderous dictatorship under Duterte. Now more than ever, we must not only forget: we must assert our right to fight back — to defy and resist this unbridled and worsening assault on human rights and democracy,” Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay stated.

Amid the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country, Palabay said that Duterte “unveiled in full the rotting fascist underbelly of his faux-democratic rule in unleashing the horrors of Marcosian repression upon the people from orchestrating the shutdown of ABS-CBN and other attacks on press freedom, instituting a virtual military junta to lead the government’s so-called response to the pandemic which has facilitated brutal violations of people’s civil and political rights, to brazenly conjuring the specters of the same anti-communist hysteria Marcos used to declare martial law in 1972.”

The Karapatan official continued that, through the “rabid and deadly red-tagging rampage” of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict against human rights defenders, church leaders, and the political opposition, “the Duterte regime is closely following the playbook of Marcosian fascist dictatorship” and that, with the passage of the draconian Anti-Terrorism Act, “it has now gained its ultimate legal weapon to institutionalize State terrorism and fascism against the people.”

“The Philippines is treading on very thin ice. While Duterte is still trying to maintain an illusion of democratic and popular rule in the country, the enactment of the terror law along with the ploys for constitutional amendments are teetering the country closer and closer to a full-blown dictatorship led by Duterte and his cabal of militarist lapdogs, war criminals, and human rights violators. Duterte is already trembling in fear in the facing of a growing broad resistance to his tyrannical rule, and he will do everything in his last year in power to quell dissent and secure his grip on power,” she averred.

“Today, we do not merely remember: we continue to tread the path of struggle in commemorating the ouster of a fascist dictator. Today, we honor the people’s heroes and martyrs who endured suffering and offered their lives in the fight to resist tyranny and fascism. We call on all Filipinos to not only remember but assert the legacy of the EDSA People Power uprising against those seeking to diminish and tarnish it: 35 years ago, the people emerged victorious in orchestrating the downfall of a fascist dictatorship. The time to act is now. The time to dismantle Duterte’s tyrannical rule is now,” Palabay ended.