STATEMENT OF OVERSEAS FILIPINOS LIVING IN THAILAND ON THE PHILIPPINE SITUATION
5 October 2017; Bangkok, Thailand
As Filipinos based in Thailand, we are outraged and alarmed by the spiraling human rights crisis and political situation in the Philippines under the Duterte administration. With the worsening drug-related killings in the country because of Duterte’s war on drugs, we are deeply worried about the safety and welfare of our family members and loved ones at home, especially our children.
As Filipinos living overseas, we are deeply disturbed by the tragedies that befell returning overseas Filipino workers who got summarily executed or unjustly killed by police officers or by vigilantes. We are horrified by stories of children and young Filipinos who got killed in Duterte’s war on drugs; they could be our children, our own loved ones.
We are outraged by how the Duterte government is using the war on drugs as a platform to attack our democratic institutions. It is morally reprehensible for the government to fan hysteria on drugs to rationalize its attack on Philippine democracy. Duterte is exaggerating the drug problem so that he and his allies, including the Marcoses, can revive authoritarianism in the country and recreate the same climate of oppression and plunder that drove thousands of Filipinos to leave their homes and families in search of better lives. We also condemn his blatant attempt to silence voices of dissent in the Philippines, and to mangle the truth through his machinery of fake news and online trolls.
Drugs and drug use are a public health issue, and as such, they are best addressed from the lens of evidence, health, and human rights. The war on drugs will push the country into a bottomless pit of extrajudicial killings, violence, human rights abuses, epidemics, societal polarization, police abuse, and unnecessary government expenses. To address the drug problem, the government should instead improve law enforcement to curb large-scale drug trafficking and introduce harm reduction interventions as an effective strategy to reduce the demand for and the harm caused by drugs.
Duterte’s war on drugs goes against our dream for the Filipino nation: the promotion of our common humanity, our respect for life. As overseas Filipinos based in Thailand, we commit to sustaining our own initiatives inside and outside the Philippines to protect our democracy and the lives of others. We will reach out to other OFW communities to organize coordinated initiatives to hold the Duterte government accountable for its abuses and to defend the Filipino people from its own government.
We urge leaders from different sectors, from politics and business to civil society and our faith-based communities, to resist this attempt by the Duterte government to tear our society apart. We call on our fellow OFWs to stand up for truth and justice.
The Advocacy Network against Killings in the Philippines (ANAK) is an informal group of Thailand-based Filipinos deeply concerned about the human rights situation in the Philippines.
Facebook Page: Advocacy Network Against Killings in the Philippines – ANAK (@ANAK.StopKillings)
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