PHILADELPHIA — After more than an hour delay, President Rodrigo Duterte delivered his 1.5-hour State of the Nation address on Monday in the Philippines.
But human rights defenders who gathered at the Philadelphia City Hall on Sunday say that Filipinos should dig deeper beyond Duterte’s speech, and hold him accountable for his alleged human rights abuses in his ongoing war on drugs.
“These abuses are truly horrifying, they’re rivaling Marcos and martial law. It’s an ongoing crisis, it’s being looked into by UN now … but it’s something that needs to be addressed public,” said Jeeva Muhio.
This Fil-Am protester says, its president Duterte’s fourth State of the Nation address, yet he is still waiting for the president to deliver much of his campaign promises.
“We still have to call for the same thing, raising the minimum wage, ending endo, that’s why we’re still fighting for those things because he hasn’t fulfilled his promises.”
Parel says – the city hall protest is also meant to shine a spotlight on Thursdays’ scheduled U.S. congressional hearing in Washington DC, that is expected to examine the human rights situation in the Philippines.
In terms of holding the Philippine government accountable, especially like Duterte’s regime accountable, this is definitely one big way to do it.
These human rights defenders are also hoping that Congress will hold the Philippine president accountable by halting U.S. military aid to the Philippines.
Organizers say with the increasing international interest in Duterte’s human rights records, they are hoping Duterte will cave in to this international pressure and stop the killings in the Philippines.