Enough of the human rights violations! Enough of Gloria Arroyo!


Today, human rights advocates under the banner of Karapatan, and relatives of victims of human rights violations Hustisya! (Victims of Arroyo Regime United for Justice), Desaparecidos, together with Selda (Society of Ex-detainees Against Detention and for Amnesty) and the Ecumenical Movement for Justice and Peace (EMJP) declare that they will do everything to make sure this will be Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s last State of the Nation Address.

After almost a decade in power, Arroyo has been the president with the longest residency in Malacañang after the dictator, Ferdinand Marcos. Her administration has ruled in a state of an undeclared martial law making her worse than her predecessors.

For the human rights advocates, her track record proves that if she ever has a human rights agenda, apparently, is nothing but to systematically violate the Filipino people’s civil and political rights to keep her into power. Human rights violations are being committed as a matter of state policy, thus with immunity, to quell public dissent and cover up the plunder and economic exploitation of the Filipino people. 

Oplan Bantay Laya, a counter-insurgency program has led to countless victims of human rights violations. Grave forms of violations such as extrajudicial killings, abductions and enforced disappearance, and torture were committed against activists and suspected sympathizers of the revolutionary movement.

For the first half of 2009, Karapatan has documented 34 victims of extrajudicial killings. From January 21, 2001 to June 30, 2009, the victims of extrajudicial killings have reached to 1,032, victims of enforced disappearance at 202. Meanwhile, the use of abduction rather than to arrest has also intensified. This year alone, 20 victims have been abducted bringing the total victims to 521.  

Several hundreds of families have been forced to flee from their communities to seek refuge and safety because they have been subjected to threats to their lives, malicious accusations and vilification.

The so-called measures carried out by the Arroyo government bandied about in the United Nations and other forums have no intention to address the problem and instead are desperate attempts to save face from the humiliation it faced from the international human rights community.

In the midst of the President’s and military officials’ continuous declaration of supposed complete annihilation of the insurgency by 2010 and incessant posturing of strength, Arroyo’s administration has fully lost the people’s trust and confidence. Her frantic attempt to stay in power has all the more led the people to anger and ire. Her hunger for Constitutional Change is nothing but a crack to evade her accountabilities to her grave human rights abuses against both civil and economic rights of the Filipino people.

Arroyo’s failure in governance, not only proved herself incompetent but worse, her family’s barefaced plunder on the people’s money has led the people’s desire for better government and significant economic reforms to build up.

The Filipino people desires for change. The Filipino people deserve a radical change. Great power comes with great responsibilities. Grave abuse of power comes with great accountabilities.

The Filipino people have had enough! Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo must go! ###