Press Release
November 27, 2023

Contact: Drew Miller, General Secretary, International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines, email: [email protected]

“The International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP), a global network of organizations in solidarity with the struggle for human rights in the Philippines, supports the Karapatan rejection of the November 24 so-called amnesty Proclamation 404 of the Marcos Jr. administration,” said Drew Miller, the ICHRP General Secretary today. “It is political spin, not serious policy.

Karapatan is the national human rights alliance of the Philippines, formed in 1995.

“This proclamation shows that the Marcos Jr. administration is not interested in a just and lasting peace by addressing the roots of the ongoing armed conflict in the country. Rather it assumes the rebellion is both misguided and defeated, thus perpetuating the nation’s deep social conflicts,” said Miller. 

In less than one year of the Marcos Jr. administration, Karapatan documented over 60 cases of extrajudicial killings and 28 frustrated killings nationwide, including that of the Fausto family, including children, of Negros Occidental. Over 78 cases of illegal arrest and detention were also documented, noting the sharp increase of political prisoners under Marcos Jr. 

The right to self-determination, including resistance by armed force against an oppressive and exploitative ruling system, is a people’s collective right under international law. But instead of recognizing this and working for a political solution, the Philippine government delegitimizes both the legal and underground struggle for liberation with relentless red-tagging and terrorist-branding using the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), the Anti-Terrorism Law (ATL) and its Anti-Terrorism Council.

“Instead of honoring the previous bilateral agreements of the Philippine peace process, especially the 1998 Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human RIghts and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL), the Marcos Jr.government continues to ignore why the Filipino people protest or choose to take up arms in the first place, which will only fuel the armed resistance even more,” said Miller.

For over 10 years, ICHRP has organized solidarity missions to the Philippines that have mobilized hundreds from around the world to hear directly from victims and witnesses of the Philippine military’s violations of International Humanitarian Law (IHL), including but not limited to aerial bombings, artillery bombardment, hamletting, and killings of civilians in the rural poor areas of the country. 

“We welcome the recent recommendation of Dr Ian Fry, UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights in the context of climate change, to abolish the NTF-ELCAC,” said Mr Miller. “It is the main government agency established under the Duterte administration and now beefed up under Marcos Jr. to red-tag activists and people’s organizations critical of government policies as front organizations of the Communist Party of the Philippines. 

“Furthermore, the recent exposé of the NTF-ELCAC’s forced surrenderee program by abducted environmental activists Ms Jonila Castro and Ms Jhed Tamano not only puts the entire credibility of the so-called amnesty program into question, but exposes another violation of IHL in itself. 

“We condemn the Marcos Jr. administration for its systemic and egregious violations to IHL, especially the blanket targeting and repression of civilians and non-combatants, through its vicious counterinsurgency war.

“We stand with the Filipino people’s demands for the abolition of the NTF-ELCAC and ATL, and an end to the Philippine government’s counterinsurgency war. We will continue to lobby our governments to cut any and all forms of support to the Philippine government, especially military support. Without addressing the roots of the armed conflict – poverty, landlessness, high unemployment, foreign domination, landlordism, and rampant government corruption – there is no genuine path to a just and lasting peace in the country,” concluded Mr Miller.