Philippine Human Rights Watch documents calamities under Duterte administration

NEW YORK — Nine years ago, when they were just investigating then-Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, Human Rights Watch warned that “when a government, local or national, throws the rule of law under the bus, and decides certain segments of society are not worthy of basic human rights” — then we are in trouble.


“We warned back in 2009 of a contagion effect of a Duterte model of “crime control” that could spread,” says HRW’s Phelim Kline.

Kine saye this is exactly what’s happening now in the Philippines.


“He delivered on his promise to let loose mass extrajudicial violence and he has delivered on that with a vengeance. The figure that HRW is using is at least 12,000 over the past 18 months.”

Human rights advocate Father Albert Alejo, a former Davaoeno, says he has followed Duterte’s career since he was mayor of Davao.


“He is worse… with greater power, and greater amount of discretion on the lives and death of people, we are witnessing a different kind of phenomenon.”

In the last 18 months, the Human Rights Watch says it has documented a triple human rights calamity in the Philippines.

First is the extrajudicial killings and how the police allegedly plant fake evidence on the victims.

“A group of young men came up to us and whispered that they had seen the police plant a gun on the victim, nung dinagsa na siya ng tao tapos may mga media na, bigla siyang nagkaroon ng baril. They showed us a photograph of the body, exactly how we found it last night but without a gun laying next to it.”

The second threat is health threats among the tens of thousands crammed into jails and detention centers – a result of Duterte’s war on drugs.


“We’re seeing a health crisis of epidemic proportions in Philippine detention centers, epidemic of scabies, tuberculosis, hepatitis-c, large up ticks of incidence of HIV.”

Kine says the third human rights calamity the administration’s war on media and the freedom of the press.

Despite such threats, Kine believes in the resilience of the Filipino people to make it through these triple human rights calamities.

“I was a kid and I watched the EDSA revolution unfold on TV, so I know the Philippine people are resilient that these are people who have stood up for universal values and have stood down on authoritarian dictators in the past, I’m hoping to see that same spirit.”

:Ang diktadura nilabanan po natin yan, medyo matagal tagal din ang proseso, pero natauhan din tayo, naumpog din tayo, naliwanagan din tayo, sana huwag na nating payagang maulit paho ito muli,” said Fr. Alejo.

Kine says Filipinos should speak out and demand accountability from the Philippine government especially when it comes to basic human rights and Duterte’s war on drugs.


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