Duterte regime and US govt are equally culpable for rights abuses in PH
The recent report of the US State Department on the human rights situation in the Philippines is a belated and muted acknowledgment of the fact that there are rampant cases of human rights violations perpetrated by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP) in the course of the bogus “war on drugs” and counterinsurgency operations.
The Filipino people must hold the US equally culpable for these rights violations, especially those committed in the course of counterinsurgency operations for which the AFP receives and buys weapons from the US government and is guided by US doctrine. Since 2015, the US has extended $1.14 billion (₱57 billion) in Foreign Military Financing to provide the AFP with bullets and bombs, guns, jet fighters and attack helicopters. Military intervention by US forces has escalated since 2017 on the pretext of fighting “foreign terrorists” under its Operation Pacific Eagle-Philippines.
In line with US teachings and training, the AFP has carried out a war of counterinsurgency that has blurred the lines between civilians and combatants. In the countryside, entire peasant populations are treated as armed adversaries, and are placed under hamlet control of the AFP to force people to “surrender.” In the cities, activists and independent-minded critics are subjected to anti-communist witch-hunting, linked to the armed movement and subjected to armed suppression. Across the country, military and police forces are behind widespread cases of extrajudicial killings, unlawful arrests and slapping false criminal charges, abductions, torture, harassments and other forms of human rights abuses.
These brutal tactics being orchestrated by the NTF-Elcac and implemented by the AFP and PNP, have been taught by the US military in accordance with its doctrines of “counterinsurgency” and “counter-terrorism.” These are the same tactics used by the US in its failed wars of intervention in Vietnam (Operation Phoenix) and Afghanistan (whole-of-nation approach) characterized by aerial bombings, assassinations, torture, and the relentless onslaught against the civilian population and non-combatants.
The US extends influence and operational control of the AFP and PNP by forcing its dependence on US military aid, as well as through the Mutual Defense Treaty, Visiting Forces Agreement, the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement and other unequal military agreements.
Defenders of human rights, promoters of a just peace, democratic, progressive and patriotic forces in the Philippines must vigorously denounce the rampant cases of human rights abuses committed by the AFP and PNP in the US-directed counterinsurgency war. The Filipino people must demand an end to US military intervention in the Philippines, the abrogation of unequal military agreements with the US, and an end to US-dictated doctrine of total war against the people.