Unlawful killings, repression continue in PH under Marcos admin — Amnesty International

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 28) — Drug war-related killings in the Philippines persisted even with a new administration, while authorities continued to suppress critical voices by linking them to communist groups, Amnesty International said in its latest annual report.

In its “State of the World's Human Rights” report for 2022-2023, the organization cited the university-based research group Dahas which recorded 324 drug-related killings by the police and other unknown assailants in the country last year. Of this number, Dahas said 175 took place after President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. assumed office.

Amnesty International said while the national government announced it would review killings during anti-drug operations, impunity prevailed, as the “vast majority” of these cases remain uninvestigated.

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The report also raised alarm over authorities' continued “red-tagging” of critics, human rights defenders, and political activists, which it said has led to further killings, arbitrary detentions, and harassment.

Among the examples it cited were the deaths of Silvestre Fortades and Rose Maria Galias, both members of a “red-tagged” farmers and labor rights’ group, who were fatally shot by unidentified gunmen in January 2022.

Also mentioned were the arrest of a community doctor, whom authorities accused of being a terrorist, and the “red-tagging” of a judge who dismissed a petition seeking to designate the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing, the New People’s Army, as terrorist groups.

Attacks on media workers also “intensified,” according to Amnesty International.

It said at least two journalists were killed in 2022, including veteran broadcaster Percival “Percy Lapid” Mabasa, who was known for his hard-hitting commentaries on perceived government irregularities and abuses.

READ: Journalist killings worldwide up nearly 50% in 2022 — UNESCO

The United Kingdom-based organization also took note of the National Telecommunications Commission’s order last year for internet service providers to block access to certain websites, including those belonging to independent media groups, which the state accused of affiliation with or supporting “terrorists and terrorist organizations.”

Malacañang has not yet issued a statement on the report, which also detailed the human rights situation in 155 other countries.