Safeguard rights, Duterte tells Pinoys on People Power day
PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte on Thursday, urged Filipinos to be vigilant in safeguarding their rights and the country’s democratic institutions as he marked the 35th anniversary of a street uprising that toppled the late dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos.
In a statement, he asked Filipinos to set aside their differences and “work together in building a legacy that we can proudly leave behind for future generations.”
Vice President Maria Leonor G. Robredo said Filipinos should have a “collective resolve” to fight the threats to the country’s fragile democracy.
Filipinos are in the process of “forging the nation we dreamt of and fought for,” the opposition leader said in a separate statement, adding that the promise of the EDSA uprising remained unfulfilled.
Ms. Robredo, whom the Supreme Court favored in an election protest filed by rival and the dictator’s son Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr., cited “efforts to revise history for the personal agenda of a powerful few.”
The Philippines slipped one place to No. 55 out of 167 countries in London-based think tank Economist Intelligence Unit’s democracy index last year.
The nation under Mr. Duterte retained its “flawed democracy” status, with a score of 6.56 from 6.4 a year earlier.
At least 188 human rights defenders have been killed under the Duterte administration, while 426 activists and community organizers were arrested, according to human rights group Karapatan.
Since becoming president in 2016, Mr. Duterte has attacked journalists critical of his policies, particularly his deadly war on drugs.
Amid a coronavirus pandemic, Mr. Duterte signed a law expanding crimes against terror, which critics said could be used to violate human rights and stifle dissent. —