Greenpeace Statement on the 45th anniversary of the Declaration of Martial Law

Press release - September 21, 2017
Quezon City - On the 45th anniversary of the Declaration of Martial Law, 21 September 2017, Greenpeace Philippines released a statement on developing stories regarding the possibility of President Rodrigo Duterte declaring Martial Law nationwide, as well as regarding the proposal to slash the budget of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) to P1000 for 2018.

On Martial Law, Yeb Saño, Executive Director of Greenpeace Southeast Asia, said:

“Greenpeace denounces even the thought of President Duterte declaring Martial Law in the country. There is neither rebellion nor invasion that are the basis for declaration of martial law under the 1987 Constitution. What the country has now are people standing up against extrajudicial killings and other violations of human rights, people clamoring for decent wages, environmental protection, and a sustainable future for all, which the State is duty bound to uphold.

“As we mark the 45th year since the declaration of Martial Law under Marcos, we remember the brave men and women who offered their lives during those brutal years to restore the freedom that millions of Filipinos now enjoy. Greenpeace is strongly calling for accountability for those martial law atrocities that were imposed against our nation, against our people. 

“We call on our Government to fulfill its duty to protect the human rights of Filipinos. Never again should we allow our human rights to be trampled.”

On cutting the CHR budget, Saño said:

“Greenpeace recognises that the proposed cut on the budget of the CHR is a developing story, which it hopes the Senate will not endorse. The budget cut is a serious blow to the CHR’s independence and manifests the House of Representatives’ apparent disregard for human rights causes. It will affect the CHR investigations into the war on drugs and many important human rights cases, including the ongoing inquiry on the responsibility of Chevron, ExxonMobil, Shell, ConocoPhillips, BHP Billiton and 40 other big coal, oil and gas companies found in a study to have contributed most to climate change, based on a petition filed by climate change-impacted communities in the Philippines.

“Every Filipino is steadily becoming part of the global frontline community impacted by climate change, as are many other people around the world. The atrocious cut to the CHR budget for 2018 would set a very dangerous precedent that takes away protection for all of us, regardless of our creed or political beliefs.

“Greenpeace is calling on the Senate to uphold the spirit of the Constitution by restoring proper resources back to the CHR for 2018 and for global and regional associations of human rights institutions to give support to the CHR in these times of political suppression. Greenpeace stands to defend not the personalities in the CHR, but the CHR as an instrument of justice and accountability. Emasculating the CHR is an attack on our collective ideals to uphold human rights, which are the principal basis of our democracy.”

“We also call on the CHR to be steadfast, remain impartial, and contemplate the issue of human rights from the broadest context.”

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For more information:

Yeb Saño, Executive Director, Greenpeace Southeast Asia
| +63 998 849 4846

Zelda Soriano, Legal and Political Advisor, Greenpeace Southeast Asia
| Tel. +63 917 594 9424

JP Agcaoili, Communications Manager, Greenpeace Southeast Asia - Philippines
| +63 949 889 1334