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Sandugo welcomes the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) resolution to investigate the human rights situation in the Philippines under Duterte. Despite the Philippine delegation’s attempts to block the resolution, a total of 18 countries—nearly 40 percent of the UNHRC membership—chose to back it. The resolution was adopted on July 11. Clearly, the Duterte regime’s violent rule has stirred intense concern and urgency on the global stage.

In the course of our struggle to defend ancestral lands and push for genuine self-determination, many national minorities have fallen victim to different kinds of violence. More than 50 indigenous people have been killed in Duterte’s first two years as president. These attacks have not ceased; just three days before the adoption of the UNHRC resolution, Lumad activist and leader Datu Mario Agsab of Bukidnon was shot dead in his own home.

Whole communities of Moro and indigenous people have been internally displaced by militarization and development aggression. Many more are under threat of displacement by China-funded projects like the Kaliwa Dam, the Chico River Pump Irrigation Project, and New Clark City.

Since 2017, Marawi City has lain in ruins with no substantial rehabilitation in sight, despite huge amounts of financial aid from the international community. Many civilians are dead or missing, but any reliable independent documentation has been made impossible due to the iron-fisted grip of Martial Law, which continues to sow terror in the Mindanao countryside. We hope the UNHRC can spearhead an impartial investigation of the atrocities committed under Duterte’s Martial Law.

We thank the UNHRC and the international community for their concern. We hope the participating countries will help investigate and document our national plight. Sandugo will gladly assist any international observers who wish to shed light on the dire state of national minorities. May the struggle of the Filipino people be both a lesson and an inspiration to a world under threat of creeping fascism and imperialist expansion.


Press Release 12 July 2019
Media Liaison: Aya Santos, 0908-8121982