Far brutal than Marcos
It is worrisome to contemplate that shortly after US President Donald Trump’s meeting with President Duterte last week, several unpleasant pronouncements were announced by the latter.
Just days ago, Mr. Duterte made sudden shifts in relation to his prior statements of resuming talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines. Not only did he cancel the talks, he likewise raised the conflict to a new level by openly accepting the United States’ listing and recommendation of labeling the Communist Party of the Philippines and New People’s Army as terrorist organizations. After this, Mr. Duterte openly threatened the arrest of all progressive individuals and likewise branded legal democratic organizations as terrorist groups, using the clichéd branding that the latter are mere fronts of the CPP-NPA. We could not but condemn
US meddling in the country’s internal affairs, especially after significant achievements in the past have already been reached in relation to the process of building peace. Equally condemnable is Mr. Duterte’s hypocrisy in calling himself a “leftist” or “socialist” president when in fact he is unleashing the full force of state fascism.
Mr. Duterte’s open claim to fascist rule is seriously worrisome. His more than a year of populist rule is actually tainted with charges of state brutality and fascism. Three wars have been waged since then: war on drugs, war on terror, and war on insurgents. The number of extrajudicial killings, tortures, harassments, displacements, lootings, and other human rights violations has reached an unprecedented level that Mr. Duterte is fearlessly criticized as someone using the same draconian methods of Marcos yet even far brutal than the former dictator. And the truth of the matter is that the most vulnerable in this open state aggression are the poor. Hence, as church people inspired by the principles of the Second Vatican Council, and the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines, we remain as a “church of the poor.” It is the imperative of our faith to fight state repression, to defend the poor, and build God’s kingdom on earth where justice and righteousness flow.
REGLETTO ALDRICH IMBONG, board secretary, Archdiocesan Commission on Social Advocacies, Promotion of Church People’s Response
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