ICHRP Statement on the 51st anniversary of Martial Law
September 21, 2023
The International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP) stands with the Filipino people’s continuing struggle for the full recognition and respect for their rights on this 51st anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law by the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr. We commend the courage, strength and commitment of the Filipino people to defend their rights and for fighting for a just peace and genuine development.
“No amount of historical revisionism and disinformation from the Marcos family and its cronies can erase the memories of the Filipino people and the international community of the horror and terror wrought by dictator Marcos’ martial law. No amount of historical whitewashing can erase the Filipino people’s struggle to bring down the fascist dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos Sr. that now continues under the administration of his son Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.,” states ICHRP Chairperson Peter Murphy .
In a recent press conference, two environmental activists who went missing – Jonila Castro and Jhed Tamano – declared they had been abducted by the Philippine military and coerced into signing false affidavits while in the military camp. This is in stark contrast to the NTF-ELCAC’s claim that Castro and Tamano had “voluntarily surrendered” to the military and were “safe and sound” under their custody. The active involvement and cooperation of the local government in Castro and Tamano’s case demonstrates the “whole-of-nation” approach of the Philippine government’s so-called counterinsurgency program. This act is reminiscent of the dark days of Martial Law where the dictator, its fascist military and the Philippine Constabulary, together with different government agencies terrorized the populace.
We again remind the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) of its prophetic duty to take good care of the welfare of its flock. It is high time for the CBCP to withdraw from the NTF-ELCAC as a private sector representative and help end the climate of impunity.
ICHRP agrees with and is calling for international support for the Filipino people’s demand to abolish the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) and the Anti-Terrorism Law (ATL), two anti-people legal instruments established under the administration of Rodrigo Duterte but continued and beefed up now under Marcos Jr. It strongly supports the call of the Filipino to not forget the massive repression endured by the majority and to not allow the oppressive acts of Martial Law to remain.
During the most recent Universal Periodic Review on the Philippines the international community denounced the NTF-ELCAC and the practice of systemic red-tagging and terrorist-branding through the ATL by the Philippine government as violations of human rights. “We in ICHRP recognize that red-tagging, enforced disappearances, and the continuing political killings are grave violations against human rights and International Humanitarian Law (IHL), in that through its so-called counterinsurgency program, the Philippine government targets civilians and non-combatants in the throes of an internationally-recognized civil war,” Murphy continued.
According to Philippine human rights group Karapatan, over 60 extrajudicial killings and 28 frustrated killings have been committed from June 2022 to July 2023 under Marcos Jr. There are also 7,712 documented victims of indiscriminate firings, 6,931 victims of bombings/shelling. In addition, 13,905 became victims of forced evacuations, and 1,582,239 victims were subjected to threat/harassment and intimidation.
“We further call on governments around the world to end their support to the Marcos Jr. administration and to the Philippine military until these egregious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law stop and justice is attained for the victims and their families,” Murphy ended. ###
For comment: Peter Murphy, Chairperson, ICHRP Global Council +61 418 312 301