Read in: Bisaya
Duterte kept to his ghost-written speech and was able to spare the UN General Assembly from his usual vulgarities before Philippine audiences. But he could not avoid dishing a number of lies and slanderous remarks against his own compatriots who are victims of his maladminsitration and human right violations.
He sounded most impressive by saying that his own passing regime could not undo the 2016 judgment of the Permanent Arbitration Court in favor of the Philippines in accordance with the UN Convention of the Law of the Sea, pertaining to the West Philippine Sea. Obviously he bent to the resounding declarations of the US and other powerful governments that China should not insist on its baseless claim of ownership over more than 90 per cent of the South China Sea.
But Duterte lied in failing to mention that in the last four years of his rule he had laid aside the aforesaid 2016 judgment and the UNCLOS and allowed China to violate the sovereign rights of the Philippines and to build seven military bases in the exclusive economic zone of his country in his expectation of bribes from high-interest loans for overpriced infrastructure projects undertaken by Chinese contractors.
Another big lie that Duterte dished out was his claim that his regime had always respected human rights and that he welcomed UN cooperation in this regard. He was in fact countering the demands and efforts of UN human rights agencies and the European Union for the investigation of the human rights situation in the Philippines. Worst of all, he used his speech to accuse the victims of human rights violations and their human rights defenders of weaponizing human rights against his blood-soaked tyrannical regime.
He made a big spiel for his law of state terrorism as a necessary weapon and did not mention the real purpose of imposing a fascist dictatorship on the Filipino people. He did not explain that the Marawi siege was the product of a deal between himself and the Maute brothers (according to their father) to lay the ground for martial law in Mindanao. Also, he did not bother to reconcile the aforesaid law with his propaganda that the people’s army had been decimated several times over its estimated size.
To sugarcoat his crimes, Duterte referred to the Covid-19 pandemic and clamored that the vaccine should be considered a public good to be made available to all countries. But he expressed no remorse for letting the pandemic spread in the Philippines by allowing more than 500,000 tourists from China to enter the Philippines from January to March and then failing to adopt the necessary health measures to protect the people in the lockdowns since March.
The world knows that he has taken advantage of the lockdowns to escalate the repressive measures against the people with the conspicuous use of the military, police and paramilitary, facilitate extrajudicial killings, deprive the people of the promised economic assistance and medical services, enact the law of state terrorism, steal hundreds of billions pesos of public money under the cover of emergency powers and sink the Philippine further in foreign debt.
In his UNGA speech, Duterte also paid lip service to the desirability of peace. But the world knows that he has allowed China to build seven military bases in the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines in violation of the 1987 Constitution and has terminated the peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines since 2017. He further paid lip service to minding the climate crisis. But the world knows that he allows the foreign monopoly corporations to plunder and destroy the Philippine environment at the expense of the Filipino people, especially the indigenous communities and poor peasants.###