Rodrigo Duterte

The COVID-19 pandemic is being mishandled in the Philippines with political consequences, write Merck Maguddayao and Tony Iltis.

Filipino activists delivering aid to communities abandoned by the government are facing daily threats, harassment and arrest. They are appealing for urgent funds to continue their work among the urban poor, writes Susan Price.

President Rodrigo Duterte’s strong-armed response to the COVID-19 pandemic contrasts with its failure to deliver basic public services, including healthcare, to the people, writes Reihana Mohideen.

Laban ng Masa, a new coalition of trade unionists, community activists, urban poor organisations, feminists and socialists, marked its formation by organising a mass protest in Manila on September 21.

The protest marked the 45th anniversary of the declaration of martial law by former dictator Ferdinand Marcos and to oppose moves towards martial law by President Rodrigo Duterte, who openly admires Marcos. Duterte’s government has already declared martial law in Mindanao and overseen 13,000 extrajudicial killings of poor people in a “war on drugs”.

Filipino socialist group, the Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM), released the statement slightly abridged below on September 3 after the Australian government announced to it would send special forces to work with the murderous Rodrigo Duterte regime in Mindanao in the name of the “war on terror”.

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The PLM demands that the Australian government withdraw the two Australian air force Orion spy planes participating in combat since June in Marawi, Mindanao, and abandon plans announced by Australian government ministers to send special forces.

Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte’s annual State of the Nation (SONA) address on July 24 reflected his government’s increasing trajectory towards dictatorship. Outside, protest marches converged on the parliamentary complex at Batasan, reflecting the growing grassroots opposition to the worsening dictatorial trend.

US exports to China totalled US$116 billion last year, while its imports reached $463 billion. The $347 billion deficit accounts for almost 70% of the US’s total trade deficit.

US President Donald Trump’s most influential senior advisers, Peter Navarro, who heads the National Trade Council, and US secretary of commerce Wilbur Ross, call China “the biggest trade cheater in the world”.

After burying former dictator Ferdinand Marcos’ remains at the national heroes’ cemetery and helping Ferdinand’s son Bongbong Marcos in his bid to become vice president, Duterte has now placed all of Mindanao — and threatened to place the entire country — under martial law. 

Today, we may now be just one “security crisis” away from outright military rule.

Filipino police and military forces in the small city of Marawi on the island of Mindanao attempted to arrest Isnilon Hapilon, a leader of the Abu Sayyaf criminal gang, on May 23. By the end of the day, President Rodrigo Duterte’s government had declared martial law throughout the island for 60 days and launched a military assault.

By June 2, that ongoing assault, including air strikes, had killed at least 160 people and displaced hundreds of thousands.

This dramatic escalation represents the further slide of Duterte’s administration towards authoritarian rule and a betrayal of his election campaign promise to pursue a negotiated end to Mindanao’s multiple insurgencies.

The following statement was released by Filipino socialist party Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM) on May 25 in response to the government's May 23 declaration of martial law in Mindanao for a 60-day period.

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