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.