Declaration of People’s Demands vs. Duterte’s Dictatorship
We, the undersigned, declare our unity against Rodrigo Duterte’s dictatorship and our determination to fight and defeat his tyranny. Though we are thousands of miles away, the recent signing of the Anti-Terror Law and its extraterritorial provisions only made clearer our material connection to the struggle for freedom and democracy in the Philippines.
The following are our people’s demands to the Philippine and US governments:
1. Scrap Duterte’s Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, most commonly known as the Anti-Terror Law. To the Philippine government, we demand the immediate scrapping of the Anti-Terror Law (ATL). The ATL was signed into law by Duterte on July 3, giving the government overly broad discretion to label critics of the government as terrorists, given the law’s vague definition of terrorism. The provisions of the new law include wiretapping without notice, arrest without warrant, and detention for up to 24 days, which goes beyond the limit prescribed by the Philippine Constitution.
2. Ensure free mass testing, healthcare and livelihood for the Filipino people in the face of COVID-19, not militarization. To the Philippine government, we demand the people have access to free mass testing, treatment and healthcare, and adequate healthcare facilities to fight COVID-19. Currently, the Philippines has some of the highest numbers of confirmed cases and mortality rates in Southeast Asia. Healthcare should be paired with financial assistance and guaranteed livelihood for the people., where over 20 million more are unemployed since the lockdown began.
3. Ensure the rights, welfare, and protection of Filipino migrant workers. To the Philippine government, we demand that migrant Filipino workers and all Filipinos abroad be guaranteed their rights. Migrant workers have suffered from the pandemic, lack of assistance, and loss of livelihood. Hundreds of returning Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) are stranded at airports, while tens of thousands of seafarers are stranded on ships. Many OFWs have taken their own lives due to hopelessness amid the pandemic. In the US, exploited young hotel workers on the J-1 visa received little to no support from the Philippine government as they faced mass lay-offs.
4. Pass the Philippine Human Rights Act (PHRA). To the US government, we are demanding the passing of the Philippine Human Rights Act (PHRA), a piece of legislation initiated by grassroots organizations, labor, churches, and other concerned communities. The PHRA calls: “To suspend United States security assistance to the Philippines until such time as human rights violations by Philippine security forces cease and the responsible state forces are held accountable.” Since 2016, the US has provided $550 million dollars in military aid to Duterte and implemented paltry human rights restrictions and oversight.
5. Expel the Philippine National Police out of the United States. To both the Philippine and US governments, we demand an immediate stop to the operations of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in the US. Here in the US, there are currently two known outposts of the PNP, the same entity that carried out the genocidal “War on Drugs” against poor Filipinos that resulted in the killing of more than 30,000 people. These PNP outposts will serve as extensions of Duterte’s dictatorship here in our communities, surveilling, harassing and posing danger to critics of the Philippine government here in the United States, especially in light of the sweeping provisions of the Anti-Terror Law.
Signatories: (as of July 20, 2020)