Tell it to SunStar: Authoritarian governments

IT is alarming that authoritarian governments in Southeast Asia continue to emerge. Southeast Asian countries are plagued with almost identical issues – poverty, injustice, repression, militarization, killings, harassment, enforced disappearances, to name a few.

For instance, in Cambodia, the Prime Minister who has been in power for over 30 years has allowed political killings, harassment against activists, and closure of critical newspapers. In Myanmar, mass rape of women and girls and massacre of Rohingya Muslims continue to happen. In Vietnam, political parties other than the ruling party are banned. Meanwhile, in Thailand and Singapore, free expression and press freedom are repressed.

In the Philippines, the Duterte administration did not only fail to fulfill its promise of change, but has instead imposed and executed anti-people and militarist policies which have affected thousands of ordinary citizens, especially women in the marginalized sectors.

While Filipino women call for peace based on social justice--job opportunities and decent wages, resource and land distribution, quality and free social services, end of violence against women-- President Duterte waged war against the people instead.

The Duterte administration has waged four wars against the people: war against drugs, terrorism, human rights defenders, and women.

Duterte’s war on drugs has resulted to 13,000 dead and still counting including at least 120 women; while his claim of “terrorist” attacks in Marawi and his declaration of Martial Law in the entire Mindanao Island led to the displacement of more than 55,000 Maranaos and destruction of hundreds of millions of their properties.

And while all these are happening, President Duterte continue to condone if not encourage violence against women by upholding misogynistic tendencies when speaking lowly of women in public.

This misogyny combined with militarism of the highest government official creates a very “unfavorable” climate for women’s human rights in the country--Jojo Guan, director, Center for Women’s Resources
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