Biden: True Accountability Demands a Halt of US Military Aid to the Philippines

The United States Department of State released a statement on the murder of union organizer and paralegal Alex Dolorosa, expressing condolences to Dolorosa’s family and friends, “as well as the greater international labor union and LGBTQI+ communities who loved him.” It also asserts that the US government “joins” the Philippine government in condemning this attack and “underscoring that impunity is unacceptable.” 

The claim that the Biden and Marcos Jr administrations share a commitment to justice and the interests of the Filipino working class are impossible to reconcile with the active role they both play in continuing and worsening attacks against workers and labor activists in the Philippines. 

The Marcos Jr. regime has already exceeded the pace of human rights violations against the Filipino people and grave violations of International Humanitarian Law set under former president Duterte. This is seen in the aerial bombings of civilian communities, the torture and murder of unarmed combatants, and vicious terror tagging of people struggling for their rights.

The Biden administration has in practice fostered the harrowing impunity that Philippine state forces under Marcos Jr. enjoy in their repression and terrorizing of activists struggling for jobs, living wages, land, public services, local production, and respect for their rights. We see this in the US continuing to increase military and security aid to the Philippines, expanding its own military presence with four new bases across the archipelago, and remaining silent about the Philippine government’s attacks against its own people. 

We see this even today, on International Workers Day, when Biden and Marcos are meeting together in Washington DC to broker deals that will advance US military and economic interests and further endanger and disempower the Filipino working class. 

Congresswoman Jan Shakowsky, with 14 other US Representatives, have penned a Bipartisan Letter Bipartisan Letter to President Biden urging him to raise concerns about the worsening human rights crisis to President Marcos during their bilateral meeting at the White House. They are calling for investigation of and prosecution of perpetrators of human rights violations, compensation for the many outstanding cases of Martial Law Victims under Marcos Sr., and guarantee a judicial system capable of investigating, prosecuting and bringing to justice members of the police and military who have committed human rights abuses.

If the US is at all sincere in its stated commitment to justice and ending impunity in the Philippines, it must act to end all forms of support for the Marcos regime. The Biden Administration must end US military aid to the Philippines by passing the Philippine Human Rights Act and ensure true accountability for the many injustices committed against the Filipino people.

Justice for Brandon Lee! CHR – Conduct Impartial and Thorough Investigation Into Assassination Attempt on Brandon Lee!

The Philippine Commission on Human Rights (CHR) will conduct an audit of the investigation into Brandon Lee’s attempted assassination by suspected Philippine State Security Forces in 2019, despite it being previously archived without explanation. This is a result of a growing movement to demand justice for Lee, who was a volunteer with the Ifugao Peasant Movement (IPM), paralegal in Ifugao for the Cordillera Human Rights Alliance (CHRA), and community journalist at the time of the attack against him. Brandon wrote a letter to the CHR to express his concerns and frustration with the archival of his case, explaining that this assassination attempt was not a unique experience to him. “Prior to this incident, were the extrajudicial killings of my colleagues in the IPM and Cordillera Human Rights Alliance – William Bugatti (2014) and Ricardo Mayumi (2018).” 

Members of the Cordillera Peoples Alliance and Cordillera Human Rights Alliance traveled to Manila to raise the issue of Brandon’s case as well as human rights violations that continue to worsen under the Marcos regime, particularly against communities resisting corporate development aggression like mining and dams, and militarization across Northern Luzon. 

Rep. Susan Wild also wrote to the CHR, urging them “to consider the gravity of Mr. Lee’s injuries and the implications of determining that no degree of justice or accountability is warranted in this matter.“The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), among other state agents, continue to benefit from a culture of impunity. Brandon Lee says he suspects “member/s or agent/s of the Philippine State Security Forces“ to be behind his attempted assassination in August 2019.  Given the culture of impunity in the AFP, it is no surprise the case was dismissed without reason. In his letter, Brandon asks what difficulty was there “in accessing police or military records for a more impartial investigation.”However, the war crimes committed by the Philippine government did not start nor stop at Brandon and his colleagues who were civilians violently targeted to chill dissent in violation of international humanitarian law. There are also numerous reports of rural villages being aerially bombed and strafed, other activists tortured, abducted, murdered, and sick and elderly National Democratic Front representatives also murdered. 

ICHRP-US demands the Commission on Human Rights live up to its mandate to be an independent human rights institution and address the culture of impunity in the Philippines by conducting an impartial and thorough investigation into Brandon’s case and other human rights violations perpetrated by the Philippine state!

ICHRP-US also demands that the US Government hold the Philippine government accountable for the crimes committed against Brandon and the many other victims of the Duterte and Marcos regimes, including ending US military aid to the AFP and PNP by passing the Philippine Human Rights Act.

#PassthePHRA #Justice4Brandon #CutUSAidPH