Dispatch from Crame No. 256: Sen. Leila M. de Lima’s statement on Government seeking terrorist tag for 600 individuals


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Violence solves nothing. The latest move of the Duterte administration to declare 600 individuals including progressive legislators and a UN special rapporteur as “terrorists” would only instigate more violence in our country already reeling from the bloodbath incited by this government’s war on drugs.

Peace-loving Filipinos should remind the President that suspected drug addicts and political dissidents are not termites that he can “exterminate to save the house”. These are human beings. He should address the root causes of the country’s problems instead of harassing and killing people.

One of the few positive steps of this administration was when it pursued peace talks with the rebels. But this radical policy shift of totally annihilating the insurgents puts in doubt its intention from the very beginning of the dialogue.

This legal offensive launched by the DOJ, which is reminiscent of the IALAG mechanism adopted by the Arroyo administration, signals the return of heavy-handed tactics which are potentially violative of the Bill of Rights.

President Duterte should understand that peace-building is a painstaking process and that there are legitimate grievances such as injustice, poverty and lack of economic opportunities fuelling insurgency in the country.

It’s not too late to go back to the negotiating table if this government is really sincere in looking for non-violent means to address the communist rebellion in the country. Unless, that is, Duterte’s true intention is to establish an authoritarian regime that eliminates dissent and kills democracy. ###

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