Saturday, October 31, 2020
More

    Latest Posts

    #DefendCordilleraPh: Release Igorot leader Beatrice Belen!

    Global organisations and rights advocates condemn the recent arrest of indigenous peoples leader Beatrice Belen of Innabuyog Kalinga, in the Northern Philippines....

    ICHRP on the adoption of UNHRC Resolution: PH gov’t peddled lies to the UN body

    The International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP) once again expressed their...

    Duterte now a known dictator with EU Parliament vote

    President Rodrigo Duterte has become a globally infamous dictator with the European Union (EU) Parliament passing a resolution on the country’s human...

    ICHRP mourns state murder of Filipina human rights worker

    Slain paralegal Zara Alvarez helped bring cases of Negros killings to UNHRC “We mourn the killing of human rights...

    Filipinos deserve real democracy

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=466&objectid=10841416

    Murray Horton: Filipinos deserve real democracy
    By Murray Horton
    Oct 19, 2012

    Some of the most harrowing stories to come out of the February 22 Christchurch earthquake involved people trapped alive in the collapsed CTV Building desperately ringing their families, but dying before they could be rescued. A number of them were among the Filipinos who died in that building.
    They were a group of nurses attending an English language school. More and more Filipinos are coming to New Zealand to work, either by themselves or with their families. Unlike Kiwis who go overseas to travel and work, Filipinos are not here on their OE.

    They leave their homeland because there are no jobs for them, there is no welfare system, and unless you can support your family by sending money back from overseas, they will starve. That is why we are seeing an ever growing influx of Filipinos.

    By and large they do the sorts of low-paid menial jobs (such as retirement home nurse aids) that Kiwis aren’t keen on and they live very humbly. I doubt that any of them live in the circumstances of their Coatesville compatriot Mrs Dotcom. People are the Philippines’ biggest export; they have become the Irish of Asia.

    President Benigno Aquino is visiting New Zealand this month to drum up business and trade ties. But the fact is that New Zealanders know very little about this English-speaking Asian neighbour. There are no direct flights; it is off the tourism radar. Why is it that millions of Filipinos have to go overseas to find work, including in New Zealand? It is not a poor country; quite the opposite, it is blessed with a wealth of natural resources. But the vast majority of the people of this rich country are very poor indeed, and not because of any fault of their own.

    The Philippines’ biggest problem is that land and wealth (still very much the same thing) and power are concentrated in the hands of a tiny number of extremely rich families who are not disposed to share it, let alone give it up.

    There has never been any genuine land reform. Aquino himself is from a major land-owning family, and these dynasties are the ones who control political power, with elected offices handed down from one generation to the next. The Philippines has the formal trappings of democracy but, in reality, it is still very much a semi-feudal society.

    Three things reinforce the ruling dynasties’ stranglehold on wealth and power. One is institutionalised corruption on a truly staggering scale. New Zealanders have heard of Imelda Marcos and her shoes. The Marcos’ conjugal dictatorship of the 70s and 80s personified the word “kleptocracy” – massive theft from their own people.

    More recently, another President was tried for corruption on a comparably breathtaking scale; and President Aquino’s immediate predecessor has also been charged with corruption and electoral fraud offences.

    The second and third things go together – institutionalised violence towards all opposition, and a culture of impunity that sees both corrupt politicians and the members of official death squads (soldiers, police, and paramilitaries) go completely unpunished. Aquino was elected in June 2010 but, despite his own father having been the most high profile victim of Marcos’ many political murders, nothing has changed.

    As of this September there had been 113 political murders during his Presidency. There are more than 400 political prisoners (who are charged with concocted “criminal” offences); torture is routine and was only very recently criminalised; “disappearing” someone has still not been and is widely practised.

    The military and the ruling dynasties they serve have a very broad definition of “enemies” – the world’s worst ever massacre of journalists (32, out of 58 people killed) took place in the Philippines only three years ago. Nobody has been convicted for this and witnesses have since been murdered.

    When the previous President, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, came to New Zealand in 2007, Helen Clark raised the human rights issue with her.

    We challenge John Key to do the same with President Aquino.

    The long-suffering Philippine people deserve all the international support they can get (the US backs the status quo there, as it always has, because the Philippines has always been a loyal satellite). Filipinos don’t take this lying down – they gave the world People Power when they peacefully overthrew Marcos in 1986; opposition to the system ranges from a vibrant popular movement representing many sectors of society, right through to the decades of armed struggle waged by Communist and Muslim guerrillas.

    We owe it to our Filipino workmates and neighbours to urge our Government to demand of President Aquino what he intends to do to make the Philippines an actual democracy and a fair society for all of its people.

    * Murray Horton is the secretary of the Philippines Solidarity Network of Aotearoa.

    Latest Posts

    #DefendCordilleraPh: Release Igorot leader Beatrice Belen!

    Global organisations and rights advocates condemn the recent arrest of indigenous peoples leader Beatrice Belen of Innabuyog Kalinga, in the Northern Philippines....

    ICHRP on the adoption of UNHRC Resolution: PH gov’t peddled lies to the UN body

    The International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP) once again expressed their...

    Duterte now a known dictator with EU Parliament vote

    President Rodrigo Duterte has become a globally infamous dictator with the European Union (EU) Parliament passing a resolution on the country’s human...

    ICHRP mourns state murder of Filipina human rights worker

    Slain paralegal Zara Alvarez helped bring cases of Negros killings to UNHRC “We mourn the killing of human rights...

    Don't Miss

    Support the Filipino People’s Struggle, Not U.S. War

      On December 10th, Rodrigo Duterte’s spokesperson announced the President would lift martial law in Mindanao two years after its initial implementation. This is a...

    HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS PERPETUATED BY PHILIPPINE GOVERNMENT

    Statement of the High-Level Delegation of church, union, political, and foundation leaders on extreme human rights violations occurring in the Philippines 1. High Level Delegation  From...

    PCPR-HK Statement on Red-tagging

    TERRORIST TAGGING ONLY STRENGTHENS NCCP’s FAITH IMPERATIVES TO SERVE THE POOR, THE DEPRIVED AND OPPRESSED  The Promotion of Church Peoples’ Response-Hong Kong Chapter (PCPR-HK) vehemently...

    Urgently withdraw “red-tagging” of National Council of Churches of the Philippines, restore the peace talks

    November 7, 2019 Ret Maj Gen Delfin Lorenzana, Secretary, Dept of National Defence DND Building, Segundo Ave. Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo Quezon City, Philippines 1110; Email: publicaffairs.dnd@gmail.com Urgently withdraw “red-tagging” of National...

    Asia Pacific Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines Condemns Mass Arrest of Activists in Negros and Metro Manila

    4 November 2019 Asia Pacific Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines Condemns Mass Arrest of Activists in Negros and Metro Manila The Asia Pacific Coalition...

    Stay in touch

    To be updated with all the latest news, offers and special announcements.