140 political parties, heads of government flay Duterte for deaths, violence

An international grouping of progressive and left-wing political parties, with some Prime Ministers and Presidents present, issued a stern warning against what it called the rising tide of violence and death in the Philippines.

The Progressive Alliance, an association of social democratic, socialist and labour parties, in a statement approved during its Convention in Berlin, Germany, “reiterates its concern over the escalating situation in the Philippines,” which it said “threatens to erode its decades-long struggle for democracy and human rights.”

The statement, approved by a gathering of 140 representatives of major leftist political parties, including some heads of governments and members of parliament in attendance, said that “the government’s current anti-drugs campaign manifests as a violent witch hunt that primarily victimizes poor people unable to afford legal defense,” and that the Philippines under President Duterte seems “intent on going down a path of death and violence” because of the priority legislation reimposing the death penalty and lowering the minimum age of criminal responsibility to 9 from the current 15.

The PA called on the Duterte administration to abandon these measures as it called out President Duterte’s “inflammatory language and pronouncements that explicitly condone the killing of suspected drug users, and branding those who oppose his campaign as protectors of drug trade lords and coddlers.”

Among those in attendance were Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven, Martin Schulz, SPD Germany candidate for Chancellorship, Prime Minister Antonio Costa of Portugal, Christian Kern, Chancellor of Austria, the Maria Joao Rodrigues, Vice Chair of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, among others.

The PA also dared President Duterte to “desist from baiting the public with dictatorship and Martial Law as solutions to the country’s problems,” according to its statement.

The group, which includes social democratic parties from Scandinavian countries like Sweden and Norway, as well as Denmark and Germany, and even the Workers’ Party in Brazil called on the global community “to pay closer attention to the developments in the fragile and contested democracy that is the Philippines.”

They said that “the United Nations, in the absence of tangible, decisive action on the part of (Philippine) authorities to desist from these anti-democratic practices, should investigate the situation and forward recommendations how the international community can help (Filipino) citizens.” (Press Release)

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