Health Alliance for Democracy joins the Filipino people in commemorating the 31st anniversary of the toppling of the US-Marcos dictatorship and the victory against state fascism, February 25, Saturday.
|Health workers march towards Gate 2 of Camp Aguinaldo.|
"We do not forget that the mass movement led the growing clamor against the widespread poverty, social injustice and political repression of the time," said Dr. Joseph Carabeo, secretary-general of HEAD. "This is the same, albeit stronger, mass movement that is now calling out the Duterte administration for the intensifying attacks on the people’s political, economic, and social liberties."
Following his withdrawal from the GRP-NDFP peace talks and his declaration of an all-out war, human rights violations have become more rampant throughout the country. According to KARAPATAN, Duterte has on his record 30 individuals languishing in jails for being advocates of human rights in their communities; they are now part of the 300 political prisoners yet to be freed despite being charged with trumped-up cases, most of them suffer from poor health. Even those from other factions of the ruling elite, such as the Liberal Party’s Leila de Lima, are made example of.
For all of the intensification of the human rights violations and political persecution, still left unaddressed are the old neoliberal policies perpetrated by regimes from Marcos to Noynoy Aquino: an import-dependent and export-oriented economy, contractualization and unjust wages, regressive tax policies, and ill-afford social services such as health and education.
Carabeo reminds Duterte, "all the fascist wars by past regimes failed because the basic ills of the people, the root causes of the armed conflict, were never addressed. Deaf to the lessons of history, they insisted on giving the wrong remedy to society's illnesses. The poor and hungry have become more convinced that the only way to achieve real change is to take up arms and overthrow this repressive state. "
Duterte would be very wise to take a completely different course: stop the all-out war enacted by the AFP and continue the peace talks. This is the perfect avenue for him to collaborate with the NDFP in enacting the socio-economic reforms that will address the root causes the armed rebellion. Or else, the war will endure.
In remembrance of the Filipino people’s victory more than three decades prior, and inspired by the increasing strength of the national democratic movement, the health sector stands resolute with the masses in the face of the intensifying fascist attacks on the people. "We will continue to join the struggle for true freedom and just peace," Carabeo ended.##