[Statement] Call to Defend & Protect Civic Space, Empower the Marginalized -CPDG

Quezon City, Philippines — Amid the Duterte administration’s increasingly hostile militarist lockdown, the Council for People’s Development and Governance (CPDG) calls on Philippine civil society to defend and protect civic spaces and empower the marginalized (http://chng.it/HZt2Gjb92q).

CPDG strongly protests Pres. Rodrigo Duterte’s dangerous and irresponsible order to kill citizens that security forces deem as defying the military lockdown. In a nationally broadcast announcement on April 1, 2020, he said: “Shoot them dead”. The president’s duty is to uphold the rights and welfare of Filipinos. The State and its officials, including security forces, are duty bearers that are accountable to the people.

The president is wrong to treat people asserting their right to emergency relief and to express their views on the government’s response as enemies. The real enemy today is the spread of the COVID-19 and the social and economic crisis this is spawning.

The president is also very wrong to single out activist groups in civil society and shut out their participation in governance. For decades now, activist people’s organizations and NGOs have been among the most determined civil society organizations (CSOs) asserting the right to development. Red-tagging has no place in a democracy, and only becomes more condemnable when done in the middle of the worst public health crisis in the nation’s history.

This is a time of serious crisis. Filipinos are suffering greatly with very uncertain and even dire prospects in the new normal that the pandemic has wrought. The public health system needs to be strengthened further and immediately. The poorest and most vulnerable also need to be immediately given emergency relief including food, hygiene supplies and income support.

The last thing the country needs is for the government itself to threaten and harass civil society groups which are among those on the frontlines of trying to alleviate the widespread suffering that the virus and military lockdown are causing.@

Established in 2008, the Coordinating Council for People’s Development and Governance (CPDG) is a broad network of civil society organizations (CSOs)
and people’s organizations (PO) engaged in development work.

CPDG Statement
06 April 2020
Council for People’s Development and Governance
#114 IBON Center, Timog Ave, QC
8-9Call 27-6986

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