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HK groups mark martial law anniversary with call to oust Duterte

22 September 2019

by The SUN
 
The statement likens Duterte to Marcos but with far more powers

Filipino community groups and individuals led by church leaders marked the 47th anniversary of the declaration of martial law in the Philippines on Sept 21 with a call for the ouster of President Rodrigo Duterte.

The first united group to call for the president’s removal from office said that like Marcos, Duterte’s tyrannical rule “has wrought irreparable damage to our country and its democratic institutions.”

The statement accused Duterte of destroying the check and balance in government by dominating Congress, imprisoning a senator to sow terror, and causing the former Chief Justice to be removed on flimsy ground.

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Duterte is also said to have abetted the extrajudicial killings not just of suspected drug addicts and pushers, but also of human rights activists. Church leaders, on the other hand, have been publicly shamed by the president, along with their faith.

The government’s alleged corruption was another issue raised in the statement, which cited as an example the Php100 million “pork barrel” allocated for each member of Congress, along with the Php4.5billion set aside for the president as intelligence fund.
Duterte was also accused of being a “traitor” for not asserting the country’s right over the West Philippine Sea, despite winning an arbitral court ruling against China over the disputed shoals.

“And all along, ordinary Filipinos have been left to grapple with rising food prices, horrendous traffic, lack of jobs and job security, unmitigated killings, and a general sense of hopelessness and despair,” said the statement.
The group also hit out at the government for failing to protect OFWs against unscrupulous recruiters and discriminatory laws in their host countries, and subjecting them to more mandatory fees, such as for SSS and insurance.

“All these are happening, while the country’s officials who could make a difference look the other way, or continue paying homage to Duterte. This is martial law without the official pronouncement, but has proved far more damaging to our country, its institutions and its people,” said the statement.

The joint statement issued by Bayan Hong Kong and Macau was supported by several church leaders, including the Chaplain for Filipinos Fr Jay Flandez, and the Philippine Independent Church head, Fr. Dwight dela Torre. Pastors from the Intenational Methodist Church and the United Church of Christ in the Philippines also signed.

Signing in their individual capacity were several Filipino professionals and migrant rights advocates.

Apart from Bayan, the group signatories included three other alliances: United Filipinos in Hong Kong, Gabriela Hong Kong and Filipino Migrant Workers Association, as well as 28 smaller organizations.

The full statement is printed below:

HK JOINT STATEMENT AGAINST MARTIAL LAW AND TYRANNY

Marcos declared martial law on Sept 23, 1972, two days after he signed the infamous proclamation 1081


No to Martial Law! Oust Duterte now!

Today marks the 47th year since former dictator Ferdinand Marcos imposed martial law throughout the Philippines.

We, concerned Filipinos in Hong Kong, are alarmed that long after we regained our freedoms with the ouster of Marcos, another dictator with far more powers has emerged, and has wrought irreparable damage to our country and its democratic institutions.

Since President Rodrigo Duterte took power in June 2016, he has systematically destroyed all checks and balances in the country.

He took control of Congress by ensuring his party had a super-majority among its members, then had a senator long critical of his human rights record arrested and detained on flimsy ground, striking fear in the hearts of most of her colleagues.

Next, with help from corrupt justices in the Supreme Court, he had the Chief Justice removed on the lame excuse that she missed filing some of her statements of assets, liabilities and net worth, and replaced her in quick succession, with people totally beholden to him.

Duterte has also neutralized the military and the police by giving top perks to officers in the form of juicy posts in government and fat salaries.

In the meantime, the extrajudicial killings committed in the name of his fake campaign against drugs continue to mount, with official figures showing no less than 30,000 deaths occurring since he took over.

Human rights advocates critical of his government including journalists, lawyers, farmers and church people, have also become targets of political attacks and killings. There are now 266 victims of extra judicial killings among them, and more than 400, of frustrated killings.

Many of these human rights defenders are being tagged as terrorists and put under surveillance or on a watch list, before being arrested on trumped-up charges. Church people, on the other hand, are often publicly vilified by Duterte who calls them repugnant names, and heaps scorn on their faith and God.

Corruption has also gotten much worse than before, with his key allies in several branches of government – correctional services, tourism, public works, labor, just to name a few – being allowed to get away with pilfering tens of millions of public funds.

Pork barrel, long a source of corruption among lawmakers, is not only back, but has been increased to as much as Php100 million per congressman, virtually ensuring their total complicity and obedience to Duterte’s government.

Duterte himself stands to get a total of Php4.5 billion in security and intelligence funds, an amount that is not subject to scrutiny by any government entity, including the Commission on Audit.

But this is just the icing on his cake, as Duterte continues to be linked to highly anomalous transactions, mostly by way of suspicious loan agreements with his benefactors in China.

Let us also not forget the Php6.4billion worth of smuggled drugs traced to his eldest son, Paolo, and the hundreds of millions of pesos he was shown to have deposited into a bank account during his campaign for the presidency.

His abject obedience to China has also led him to commit the traitorous act of giving up our hard-won victory in claiming the West Philippine Sea.

And all along, ordinary Filipinos have been left to grapple with rising food prices, horrendous traffic, lack of jobs and job security, unmitigated killings, and a general sense of hopelessness and despair.

Worse off are the millions of Filipinos forced to work overseas to help make ends meet for their families. Not content with leaving them unprotected against greedy recruiters and discriminatory laws in their host countries, our OFWs are being subjected to more state exactions, including mandatory SSS contributions and insurance.

All these are happening, while the country’s officials who could make a difference look the other way, or continue paying homage to Duterte. This is martial law without the official pronouncement, but has proved far more damaging to our country, its institutions and its people.

As we mark yet another anniversary of that grim event in our history when Marcos declared martial law in our country, we call on everyone to stop Duterte from dragging us back to those dark days of fear and despair.

Let us all join hands in ending his murderous and corrupt regime.

Oust Duterte now!


Signed:
ORGANIZATIONS
1.    Abra Migrant Workers Welfare Association
2.    Association of Concerned Filipinos
3.    Cuyapo OFW Association Hong Kong
4.    Filipino Friends in Hong Kong
5.    Filipino Lesbians Organization
6.    Filipino Migrant Domestic Worke
7.    Filipino Migrants Association (FMA)
8.    Filipino Women Migrant Aol
9.    Friends of Bethune House
10.  Gabriela Hong Kong Bank
11.  Likha Filipino Migrants Cultural Organization
12.  Luzviminda Migrante
13.  Migrante NaguilianMigrante Pier
14.  Migrante Shatin
15.  Migrante Tamar
16.  Migrante Tsing Yi
17.  Migrante Tsuen Wan
18.  Migrante Yuen Long
19.  Migranteng Artista ng Bayan
20.  Mission Volunteers (MOVERS)
21.  Organic Cultural and Environmental Organization
22.  Philippine Independent Church Choir
23.  Pinatud A Saleng Ti Umili
24.  Pangasinan Organization for Welfare, Empowerment and Rights POWER
25.  Promotion of Church People’s Response - Hong Kong (PCPR-HK)
26.  Samahang Migrante
27.  Sta Maria Migrants Association
28.  Women of Philippine Independent Church- WOPIC Antique

ALLIANCES
1. BAYAN Hong Kong & Macau
2. Gabriela Hong Kong
3. Filipino Migrant Workers’ Union
4. United Filipinos in Hong Kong (UNIFIL-MIGRANTE-HK)

INDIVIDUALS
1. Fr. Jay Flandez, Chaplain to Filipino Catholics, Hong Kong
2. Rev. Ray Sison, Methodist International Church
3. Ms. Daphne Ceniza-Kuok, Human rights advocate
4. Atty. Daisy CL Mandap, Journalist/migrant rights advocate
5. Mr. Leo Deocadiz, Journalist/Publisher
6. Fr. Dwight Dela Torre, Iglesia Filipina Independiente
7. Rev. Joram Calimutan, UCCP HK
8. Pastora Betty Perido, UCCP HK
9. Mr. Aaron Ceradoy, Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants (APMM)
10. Mr. Gilbert Legaspi, Resident
10. Mr. Chris Tomale, Customer Service Representative
12. Ms. Glady B. Ayo, Samahang Magdalo International
13. Fine Faderog Cariaga, OFW
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