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Statement of Solidarity on the First SONA of Pres. Ferdinand Marcos, Jr.

July 25, 2022

ICHRP Canada joins the peace loving international community and stands in solidarity with the Filipino people in the face of heightened abuses of human rights and basic dignity.

The State of the Nation Address has been an annual occasion for the people to air their grievances and press the government to act on their most pressing concerns. It is important for the true state of the nation to be heard, as a counterpoint to the lies and disinformation about the Philippines’ situation.

On the occasion of Ferdinand Marcos, Jr.’s first State of the Nation Address, the Marcos restoration benefited hugely from electoral fraud, attacks on civil liberties, and the conspiracy of the vested interests of traditional politicians as reported by the International Observers’ Mission (IOM 2022). It was made possible by the consistent denial of the gross human rights violations and world-class plunder committed by the Marcos’ dictatorship. 

Marcos Jr’s false claims and outright lies likewise gained traction, compounded by the persistent mass poverty and elitist and patronage politics that have traditionally drowned out the voices of the impoverished masses.

In the context of rising state terror in the Philippines levelled at civil society organizations and the de facto terrorist designation of Karapatan following the creation of the NTF-ELCAC in December 2018, the incidence of death threats, surveillances, arrests and extrajudicial killings of its members increased. This phenomenon has been widely documented by independent international organizations such as the UNHRC and the Independent International Commission of Investigation into Human Rights Violations in the Philippines (InvestigatePH).

The state-orchestrated attacks and ongoing systemic attacks against human rights defenders and journalists, like the conviction of cyber-libel case of Nobel Peace prize recipient Maria Ressa, and the perjury charges against Karapatan National officers, the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP) and Gabriela National Alliance of Women, are all forms of persecution and direct violation of rights.

According to Karapatan, the newly-installed administration will be “the last to subvert the grand policy of terror and repression that Duterte has implemented.” At the same time, Marcos Jr. denies all the atrocities that his dictator father has committed in the years of martial law in the country. 

ICHRP Canada commends the recent pronouncement of the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor Karim Khan to resume the investigation to demand justice for victims of Duterte’s war on drugs and human rights violations, which the Marcos Jr. administration must support.

ICHRP Canada urges the Philippine government to adhere to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and all major Human Rights instruments that it is a party and signatory to, and thus drop the perjury charges against Karapatan national officers, RMP, and Gabriela in the face of these attacks. Activists are not terrorists.

ICHRP Canada also calls on the Canadian government to halt all counterterrorism assistance to the Philippines until human rights abuses by state forces are investigated and those responsible are held accountable. 

Long live international solidarity!