Wednesday, 22 January 2020

RESBAK Unity Statement

We, artists, media practitioners, and cultural workers unite to condemn in the strongest possible terms the Duterte regime’s brutal war on drugs. Since assuming power in June of 2016, the Duterte regime, in its pursuit of purging the country of illegal drugs within six months, has systematically encouraged the violation of basic human rights and has been relentless in preaching intolerance and the disposability of lives.

Duterte’s ‘war on drugs’ has revealed its true face: it is anti-people and anti-poor. It has encouraged the “strategy of death squads” that has turned our streets and alleyways into an abattoir. It is complicit in the wholesale extermination and exploitation of suspected drug users and peddlers, particularly from the urban poor sector—the most vulnerable and convenient scapegoats for the present ills of our country.

The PNP’s ‘Campaign Plan Double Barrel’ and ‘Oplan Tokhang’ are part of a bloody and calculated propaganda war that aims to dumb down and cultivate fear and submission in our people. Tolerating this culture of impunity paves the way for the demise of democracy and the rise of fascism. It diminishes our nation’s collective soul by abetting ignorance and lies while justifying the butchering of thousands as collateral and incidental, and the only way to achieve change.

By endorsing the outright slaughter of suspected drug dealers and addicts, the Duterte regime fails to recognize the social and economic reforms needed to solve the root causes of the illegal drug trade in the country. Thus, the regime not only declares that hope and redemption are impossible for drug addicts, it has taken a path of aggression that has historically failed in all its previous incarnations worldwide.

We from RESBAK assert that slaughter and brutality will never be acceptable. Killings, whether drug-related or not, whether perpetuated by ‘death squads” or the police, should be stopped.
Let us break the silence. Let us disrupt complicity. Let us empower ourselves to defend the right to life. Let us assert that due process be followed and ensured. Let us create spaces and devise approaches to help victims, survivors and critics of the drug campaign speak out against grave violations of human rights and put forward alternative solutions.

Let us prevent the Philippine government from devouring its own people. Let our voices and efforts amplify a growing movement to reclaim democracy by putting an end to anti-people and anti-poor policies and campaigns.