Migrante Austria strongly condemns the increasingly despotic nature of the Duterte regime, manifested in the following:

Duterte vigorously carries out his brand of counter-insurgency program, Oplan Kapayapaan, which victimizes innocent and unarmed civilians, and members of progressive organizations.

The work of rights defenders and community leaders are criminalized and vilified.

Quite a number activists or persons targeted by the military and other state security forces are summarily excuted.

Many more are made to face non-bailable criminal charges that are commonly accompanied by acts of harassment, planting of evidence, perjured testimonies, among others.

The above observations were already noted as early as August 2018: “According to Human Rights Watch, Duterte and his War on Drugs has plunged the Philippines into its worst human rights crisis since the dictatorship years of the 1970s and 1980s.”https://borgenproject.org/human-rights-in-the-philippines/

And very recently, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organization Against Torture (OMCT) said in their statement that: ““President Duterte has demonstrated utter disregard for human rights and the rule of law by condoning, and even encouraging, extrajudicial killings and other serious human rights violations. This behavior has further reinforced the Philippines’ long-standing culture of impunity,” ” https://www.rappler.com/nation/224616-watchdogs-say-end-duterte-war-human-rights-defenders

The fate of two members of the Peace Talks panel who visited Vienna, Austria is a case in point: Ka Adel and Ka Randy. They were here in Vienna about 3 months apart for the Peace Fora jointly sponsored by the Philippine Embassy in Vienna and Migrante Austria.

Ka Adel and Ka Randy shed light on the objectives and status of the then on-going peace talks between the Philippine government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) with particular emphasis on the Socio Economic Reform Agenda that seeks to: a) carry out agrarian reform and national industrialisation; b) advance the rights of exploited, oppressed, discriminated and disadvantaged sectors of society; c) uphold, protect, defend and promote economic sovereignty; and d) conserve the national patrimony and protect the environment.

Ka Adel spoke at the Peace Forum in October 2016. In October 2018, he was arrested for “trumped up” charges. He is an active NDFP peace negotiator, and is supposedly protected from arrest, surveillance and harassment under the GRP-NDFP Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees.

Ka Randy was here in January 2017 for the sequel of the Peace Forum. On January 30 of this year, he was shot dead while sleeping inside a bus in Northern Luzon. In his senior year, he was editor in chief of Ang Mangingisda, the official student publication of his college. As an NDFP peace consultant, Malayao is also a holder of a NDFP-GRP Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees identification card that should have given him immunity from arrest, harassment and attacks.

We urge all organizations to remain vigilant to expose and oppose the increasingly despotic nature of the Duterte regime, ie., violations against the people’s right to organize, right to assembly, and freedom of association, freedom of expression, among others.

Let us unite and continue our collective effort to stop President Duterte’s utter disregard for human rights and the rule of law by condoning, and even encouraging, extrajudicial killings and other serious human rights violations, thus end Philippines’ long-standing culture of impunity!

Michael Garlan
Secretary General, Migrante Austria
MP no.+43 688 64588082
3 March 2018