Activists hold protest hours before Duterte meets with Filipinos in Hong Kong

Activists hold protest hours before Duterte meets with Filipinos in Hong Kong

Manila, Philippines – Activists here on Thursday held a protest against the deaths tied to President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on illegal drugs and his supposed failure to fulfill his promises hours before a scheduled meeting with members of the Filipino community in Hong Kong.

About 50 Filipinos and Hong Kong locals staged a protest along Middle Road in the Tsim Sha Tsui district of Kowloon to assail what they described as the “rising tyranny and dictatorship” of Duterte.

The activists, who claim to be backed by 34 sectoral groups from different Asian countries, also chided Duterte for allegedly endorsing human rights violations and extrajudicial killings.

“Some people are saying that he is still very popular. But that cannot hide the fact that the economic and social conditions in the Philippines are worsening and are not getting better. His popularity cannot cover the fact that there are thousands of people who are protesting, who are fighting, his tyranny and dictatorship,” Eman Villanueva, chairman of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan – Hong Kong-Macau said.

“We are just here to send our message to our president. We are not terrorists. It is our president who has been killing our people in our country. We should be the ones who are given protection, not this president,” he added.

Villanueva said Duterte has failed to improve the lives of Filipinos, forcing them to work in other countries. He also accused Duterte of not respecting the independence of co-equal branches of government by calling on Congress to impeach Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.

“The situation also of the human rights in the Philippines is deteriorating, even much worse than the time of the former dictator Marcos. He even called on Congress to impeach and remove the Chief Justice. This is a total disrespect to the rule of law and also to the checks and balance of the government,” the activist said.
“This is even much worse than the previous record of the previous administration. We are here today to tell the Philippines that he should stop doing this,” he added.

When reminded that Duterte continues to have high trust and satisfaction ratings despite the allegations against him, Villanueva said: “There is no doubt that he is still very popular…(But) by the time the people do not have food on their tables and by the time those who supported him in the elections also lost their loved ones because of the drug war, eventually, he will lose that popularity.”

“If we reach the point that we can no longer handle our problems, his popularity and his troll army in the social media would not be able to hide the situation,” he added.

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