50 years ago, a dictator declared martial laws in the Philippines. The international community is ready to welcome his son into office with open arms. The United Nations invited Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the newly elected Philippine President, to speak at UN General Assembly on September 20, 2018. This invitation coincides with Ferdinand Marcos Sr.’s 50th anniversary of declaring martial law in the Philippines.
September 21, 1972 marked the beginning of a 14 year period of corruption, tyranny, and state violence. 70,000 Filipinos jailed, 34,000 tortured and 3,240 murdered. It also left the Marcos family $10 billion richer.
Despite the outstanding $353 million contempt order related to human rights abuses committed under his family’s previous rule a presidential campaign marred by claims of electoral fraud, violence and misinformation, Ferdinand “Bong Bong” Marcos Jr. will be speaking to the international community on issues of inequality, poverty and armed conflict — issues he has no right to speak about. The UN General Assembly must not be swayed by the Marcos family’s attempts to obfuscate their crimes against the Filipino people. Anything less is a gross hypocrisy from a body that supposedly “promotes the realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all.”
State violence against the Filipino people is not something that has happened in the distant future. Americans may be familiar with former Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s (2016-2022) bloody “war on drugs.”State forces and their allies made a thinly disguised effort to crackdown on dissent. They targeted critics and activists, resulting in up to 30,000 extrajudicial killings. Now, the former president’s daughter, Sara Duterte, is Marcos Jr.’s vice president. This is no coincidence. The Marcos-Duterte alliance was the result of a decades-long project carried out by the Marcos dynasty with its cronies to restore power. Inviting Marcos Jr. onto the UN is a further disregard for the killings, indignities, and inequalities suffered under Marcos Sr.
Make no mistake: Marcos Jr.’s regime is overseeing a continuation of the practices of his predecessors. His regime supports practices widely condemned worldwide by human rights groups. These include the violent and anti-democratic tactics used by the National Task Force for Ending Local Communist Armed Conflict (NATFELCOM) and the Anti-Terror Law. Together, they have led to intimidation and arrests of any opposition. sitting senators, journalists Indigenous school teachers. 2020 the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights itself reported “systematic human rights violations, including killings and arbitrary detention, persistent impunity and the vilification of dissent.” Now, Marcos Jr. doubles down on these same cruel, repressive methods. Human rights atrocities in Philippines Will worsen as the government continues to dodge accountability.
The United States and international community will continue to be complicit with Marcos-Duterte’s regime as long as the world continues legitimizing the tyranny these political dynasties enjoy and the U.S. government continues its support for terror with over $550 million in military aid $2 billion in arms sales. But this cycle must end. Rep. Susan Wild (D. Pennsylvania), introduced the Philippine Human Rights Act in an attempt to suspend security aid to the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and the Philippine National Police, until the human right situation improves.
Marcos Jr.’s speech at the United Nations will represent a cruel hypocrisy to the many Filipinos who have suffered under the Marcos and Duterte regimes. The international community should not accept Marcos Jr. to power. Congress must pass PHRA. The International Criminal Court must continue with its inquiry into extrajudicial killings during the Duterte administration, and the United Nations must commit to investigatingThe new Marcos regime has committed human rights violations. It’s high time the global community take substantial steps towards restitution for the Filipino people and begin to hold the Marcoses and Dutertes accountable for their crimes.
The Northeast Coalition to Advance Genuine Democracy in the Philippines (555 5th Avenue) will protest and march from the Philippine Consulate to the United Nations on Tuesday September 20th at 12 noon.