Mong Palatino

blogging about the philippine left and southeast asian politics since 2004

About

@mongster is a manila-based activist, former philippine legislator, and blogger/analyst of asia-pacific affairs.

Published by Bayan Metro Manila

We are one with all groups calling for the shutdown of Duterte’s tyrannical rule.

We hold Duterte accountable for the sudden closure of broadcasting network ABS-CBN. His intent is not merely to intimidate the family which owns the company but to silence the media and deter other dissenting voices from challenging his repressive government.

ABS-CBN’s closure is the latest and most serious indicator of press freedom’s demise under the Duterte government. Media killings remain unabated in the past four years, critical journalists were slapped with harassment cases, and alternative news websites were hacked and targeted by state cyber troops. Duterte is the chief troll attacking the media.

Duterte’s low regard for press freedom reflects the bloody human rights record of his government.

He is intolerant of opposition, viciously vindictive against critics at home and abroad, and notoriously remorseless in waging brutal wars against perceived enemies of the state. The result is the record number of political prisoners facing trumped-up charges, militarization of peasant communities, and impunity killings targeting activists, lawyers, environment defenders, and indigenous peoples.

Laws and the bureaucracy have been weaponized to impose draconian controls in society. This militarist model was used in implementing COVID-19 measures.

The emergency law passed by Congress inserted a provision criminalizing the spread of so-called ‘fake news’. This was aggressively used to instill fear and discourage internet users from criticizing the government’s ineffective COVID-19 response.

The lockdown imposed brutal restrictions aside from being enforced by police and military personnel. A UN official noted that the Philippines has topped the list of countries that made quarantine-related arrests.

The public health crisis is being used by the Duterte government to impose an authoritarian rule. The closure of ABS-CBN is part of a sinister plot to justify the use of Martial Law measures to quell the opposition and pacify public unrest over the bungled COVID-19 response. Duterte is exploiting the crisis to legitimize his tyrannical rule.

We denounce the closure of ABS-CBN as a direct attack on free speech. We stand for press freedom, human rights, and democracy. We will fight Duterte’s machinations to subvert laws and violate our democratic rights.

We stand in solidarity with the workers of ABS-CBN and all those who are calling for the defense of press freedom. We will beat the virus in Malacanang which is spreading fear and killing democracy in the country.

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