A press statement by Katungod-Sinirangan Bisayas - Karapatan Eastern Visayas chapter
August 21, 2017
The Worsening Cases of Human Rights Violations Nationwide
The human rights situation in the Philippines has become far worse than how it was in the first quarter of President Duterte’s term as head of the Republic. Almost 10 months ago, Rodrigo Duterte shot out words that out-rightly called on his military and police forces to run amok and kill people who are implicated in the illegal drug trade even if it is in the most remote of ways. His statements that tolerated extra-judicial killings were taken as nothing short of formal policy and resulted, 10 months later into a total of 8000 victims of the administration’s War on Drugs.
Now that Duterte has completed a total of 14 months in office, his War on Drugs has claimed more than 13000 civilians under the operations of the Philippine National Police and their toleration of vigilante groups wantonly wreaking havoc on urban poor communities.
Claiming the Lives of Minors
Last August 18, a Grade 11 student by the name of Kian De Los Santos was killed in a police operation meant to raid a drug den in a local village in Caloocan. The operation took the life of Kian, who the PNP claimed was implicated in drug-related activities and had presented earlier this morning alleged collaborators and partners of the said 17-year old.
Amid the release of a CCTV footage which showed how Kian was defenseless in the presence of police officers who were visibly harassing him, the PNP still claimed the police they were on the defensive when they shot Kian whom they asserted “fought back” and “threatened” the security of the officers.
We call on all human rights groups, organizations and formations to condemn the blatant murder of Kian De Los Santos, who is one of many victims across the entire nation who’s lives have been claimed by the police’s war against the poor. There is also particular weight on the murder of Kian because his is one of many cases where the police has been implicated in the murder of minors, the youngest was that of a 4-year old girl in 2016 and a similar case of a 5-year old boy in Pasay of the same year.
The War on Drugs in Tacloban City
In Eastern Visayas, there have also been reports of extrajudicial killings committed by the Philippine National Police. Just last August 16, a Kenneth Bertes was killed in a police operation for being implicated in illegal drug trade. According to the mother of Kenneth Bertes, the boy was unarmed and defenseless against the police who were armed and greater in number. In 2016, there were also similar cases of reported extra-judicial killings committed on children belonging to the urban poor communities of downtown Tacloban and near the airport area.
The mere fact that these executions are taking place, not just in Caloocan but in different parts of the country is evidence that the murder of Kian Delos Santos is not an isolated case but a national phenomenon. And despite the growing public clamor to end the killings, Duterte has expressed support over the rise in the death toll. This is a clear indication that the president no longer wants to represent what is best for the people and operate within a framework of justice, from this we can predict that the killings will persist and will worsen throughout the rest of his term.
As a convener of the Rise Up for Life and for Rights Alliance, we believe that human rights is of paramount concern and must be upheld on all fronts.
JUSTICE FOR KIAN DELOS SANTOS! JUSTICE FOR THE VICTIMS OF STATE FASCISM! STOP THE KILLINGS!