The junket to Europe of AFP Major General Antonio Parlade, deputy chief of staff for civil-military operations, and Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, ended miserably and was met with protests.
Duterte’s favored generals, under the auspices of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), went on a junket to Europe, sources from Filipino organizations said, to spread lies and disinformation on progressive people’s organizations in the Philippines, sell the idea of localized peace talks, and cover-up the atrocities being committed by the Duterte regime against the people, particularly the poor, in the Philippines.
This propaganda offensive of the Duterte regime, they explained, is part of an expensive public relations effort in Europe and the US as Duterte and his regime are becoming a laughing stock of the international community for their lies and fake news.
Duterte lumad in the US
In the US, a group of Duterte lumad from the Mindanao Indigenous Peoples Council of Elders (MIPCEL) spoke in meetings sponsored by the Philippine Embassy in several cities namely, Chicago July 6 and San Francisco July 11, to red-tag human rights defenders and justify the killings of their fellow lumad by the AFP and para-military groups. They were met with protests and indignant statements from progressive Filipino-Americans.
In a statement, Malaya-Chicago stated they “were appalled at the scripted government propaganda vilifying organizations, both in the Philippines and in the US, that have tirelessly fought for the rights of the Lumad. The speakers used the same terrorist-tagging of the Duterte regime that has resulted in over 30,000 killed across the Philippines, that has left priests, farmers, human rights defenders, workers, lawyers, and children dead in the streets”.
Malaya-Chicago also emphasized that MIPCEL was created by the AFP under former president Gloria Arroyo and its speakers are also connected to paramilitary groups like the Magahat-Bagani and ALAMARA, which target Indigenous leaders of their own tribes. They are connected to the killings of Dionel Campos, Bello Sinzo, Emerito Samarca (2015), and Obello Bay-ao (2017), leaders of the schools and organizations that MIPCEL villifies.
Malaya-Chicago demanded that the Chicago Philippine Consulate be held responsible for endangering Lumad and human rights defenders’ lives through this smear campaign by the Duterte lumad.
In San Francisco on July 10, the Duterte lumad junketers spoke in a similar forum, and were also met with protests by the Filipino-American community there.
Junketers in Europe
The Duterte generals Parlade and Galvez, according to Facebook sources, had planned to tour Belgium, Italy, Spain, Italy, France, The Netherlands, Germany, Norway and the UK. Their tour was facilitated by the Philippine Embassies together with Duterte supporters in the Netherlands, Germany and Norway.
In the Netherlands, reports from progressive Filipino organizations stated that they held the meeting “secretly” in a private residence among a small group of Filipino migrants who are Duterte’s blind supporters. In that “security briefing” Parlade and Galvez, according to the sources, merely vomitted blatant lies and black propaganda against progressive peoples’ organizations fighting the Duterte regime’s atrocities.
The similar forum held at the Philippine Embassy in Berlin, Germany, July 5, was met with a protest action infront of the embassy led by Gabriela-Germany and several Philippine and German solidarity organizations. The spokesperson from Gabriela-Germany stressed during the protest: “It is clear that their visit in cities in Europe is part of their Europewide fascist campaign against anti-imperialist and democratic forces in the Philippines.”
At the Philippine Embassy in Oslo, Norway, the two Duterte stooges spewed the same poison, according to sources. Parlade and Galvez said they have been to Geneva and Sweden and other European countries “to notify and warn (sic) European governments about the CPP”. They then to proceeded to red-tag people’s organizations and international anti-imperialist formations such as the International League of Peoples Struggle which they even acknowledged increasing its membership worldwide.
Media as enemy
The generals also reportedly told the handful of audience that they consider the media in the Philippines of being enemies and accused it of trying to bring down the Duterte regime, and named several media outfits in their powerpoint presentation.
Since Norway thru the Royal Norwegian government has been the third party facilitating the peace negotiations killed unilaterally by the Duterte regime, the two generals boasted about the so-called success of localized peace talks that have resulted in the alleged surrender of thousands of New People’s Army (NPA) warriors but as the NDFP and ground commanders of the NPA have always repudiated as fake surrenders of innocent civilians so that corrupt AFP generals could collect huge amounts from the peace fund given by the Norwegian government.
“Umuwing luhaan” (Went home crying)
Even before the Duterte stooges could claim success in their junket to spread poison and embellish the atrocious regime of Duterte before Europe and the US, on July 11, 18 out of 47 countries adopted the Iceland-backed resolution asking the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to conduct a deep investigation into the human rights situation in the Philippines, including the drug-related killings.
According to newspaper accounts, the Iceland resolution, on behalf of more than two dozen nations, formally appealed to High Commissioner on Human Rights Michelle Bachelet to prepare and present a “comprehensive report” on the state of human rights in the Philippines.
Human rights defenders in the Philippines led by Karapatan have hailed the UNHRC resolution as a “concrete, welcome step towards justice and accountability.”
The passsage of the UNHRC resolution came days after Duterte supposedly enjoys higher popularity ratings among Filipinos, and days before he is to give his putative achievements before the nation in his state of the nation address.
The Iceland resolution, according to Karapatan, expressed concern on reported cases of extrajudicial killings in line with the drug war, and the issue of reported violations targeting critics and human rights defenders.
“The said resolution urged the Philippine government to take all necessary measures to prevent extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances, to carry out impartial investigations and to hold perpetrators accountable in accordance with international norms and standards including due process and the rule of law; and to cooperate with the Office of the High Commissioner and the mechanisms of the Human Rights Council, including by facilitating country visits and preventing and refraining from all acts of intimidation or retaliation,” Karapatan stated.
The UNHRC resolution was hailed not only by human rights defenders but the whole progressive people’s movement and the political opposition in the Philippines and by the global international solidarity movement supporting the Filipino people’s struggle for genuine social change and a just and lasting peace.
Progressive Filipinos in Europe commented that this is one more victory in the people’s struggle that signals the beginning of the end of the increasingly-isolated and hated Duterte regime.#