The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) welcomed on Thursday the Philippine Human Rights Act introduced by Rep. Susan Wild to block funding for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police over widespread reports of human rights violations. Rep. Wild cited the recently passed Anti-Terror Act saying that is being used to “ramp up efforts targeting labor organizers, workers and political opponents.” In her speech in the US Congress, she described the Duterte regime as “brutal.”
The legislation, co-sponsored by 24 Democrat lawmakers, reflects the call of Filipino human rights advocates and their supporters, as well as various people’s organizations in the Philippines to end Rodrigo Duterte’s brutal supression campaign.
Since the beginning of his rule, Duterte has been on a rampage, killing thousands of Filipinos in the pretext of a drug war, jailing his rivals and unleashing his soldiers and police to sow terror in the countryside. He targets his critics through vilification, red-tagging, unjustified arrests and detentions, and extrajudicial killings. He has earned enough notoriety to be compared to Hitler, Idi Amin and other dictators that history hold in contempt. Closer to home, he identifies closely with the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, whose family he has rehabilitated.
CPP Chief Information Officer Marco Valbuena applauded Rep. Susan Wild (@wildforcongress), Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) and other lawmakers for sponsoring the bill. “They deserve the gratitude of the Filipinos who seek an end to the widespread killings, abductions, torture, village hamletting and other gross abuses,” he said.
“The American people must put their feet down and stop supporting through arms and bombs the Duterte regime and its military’s dirty war in the Philippines. They must stop the Trump government in bankrolling the worsening human rights situation, moreso while there is a raging pandemic,” added Valbuena.
The Philippines is the largest recipient of US military aid in East and Southeast Asia. From 2016 to 2019, Duterte and his AFP have received up to $554 million (a whopping P27.7 billion) in military aid. This includes the $267 million (P13.35 billion) worth of arms, bullets, bombs and other war matériel that Duterte is using against the people in its bloody counterinsurgency campaign. US-supplied weapons were also used against the Moro people, notably during the Marawi siege in the pretext of its “war against terror.” Last week, the US delivered six warplanes, two drones and a “command center” luxury jet to the AFP.
The said resolution was not the first to have been filed by US lawmakers, notably Democrats, to block military funding to the Philippines. In 2007, due to efforts of the human rights movement and the church, a hearing was conducted in the US Congress and military aid to the Philippines, then under Pres. Gloria Arroyo, was suspended. Duterte and Arroyo are current allies.