The latest news in Eastern Visayas region

Follow samarnews on Facebook

more news...

Over P7-M TUPAD funds to benefit Ormoc City

Todo-Todoc’s increase amidst the crisis

DAR Samar honors PARCCOM chair

Harl’s: Beyond hurdles

14 Babatngon farmers receive land titles from DAR

CARD Bank, continues to serve in the new normal

DAR-EV prepares distribution of production inputs and livelihood support to ARBs

SB Corporation starts P3 CARES loan release


GSat Eloading Service




US Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, 49 US Legislators call to rescind Anti-Terror Law

Press Release
July 16, 2020

WASHINGTON, DC – On Wednesday morning, U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), a Senior Chief Deputy Whip in the U.S. House of Representatives, urged the Philippine government under President Rodrigo Duterte to rescind the newly-signed Anti-Terror Law (ATL), which goes into effect in the Philippines on July 18.

“We stand with people of the Philippines, Filipino Americans, and grassroots orgs like Malaya Movement and ICHRP-US in demanding a genuine democracy where dissent is accepted and encouraged instead of criminalized,” said Rep. Schakowsky.

“In the past four years, Duterte has unleashed state perpetrated terror against poor Fililpinos, farmers, workers, Indigenous peoples, people of faith, trade unionists, and human rights defenders. Only through an organized mass movement can we defeat Duterte's dictatorship,” said Nicanora Montenegro, Malaya Movement spokesperson.

Rep. Schakowsky, along with 49 additional members of the U.S. Congress, sent a letter to Philippine Ambassador to the U.S. Jose Manuel Romualdez to convey these concerns, raising the documented numerous cases of human rights violations and extrajudicial killings that have occurred in the four years of the Duterte administration.

“With a long track record of using drug laws and martial law in parts of the country to target innocent activists who did nothing other than speak out against government policies, we clearly are left with no option but to view this as just the latest and most egregious effort to silence those fighting for basic and fundamental human rights in the Philippines,” said the letter.

The U.S. Members of Congress who signed onto the letter include the Chair and Ranking Members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Eliot Engel (D-NY) and Chris Smith (R-NJ), as well as the Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific Caucus, Judy Chu (D-CA).

“We see the targeted killing of labor rights and human rights activists, silencing of Rappler media outlets, ongoing attacks against any who dare to speak out against Duterte’s violence and trampling of rights. We are telling them these egregious attacks cannot stand,” said Rep. Judy Chu, the first Congressional Representative to speak out against the attempted assassination of U.S. citizen and activist Brandon Lee in front of his home in the Cordillera region of the Philippines last year.

Lawyer and former Philippine Congressman Neri Colmenares thanked the U.S. representatives for showing concern for the worsening human rights situation in the Philippines and encouraged U.S. Congress to support the Philippine Human Rights Act (PHRA), a bill that would put restrictions on US military aid to the Philippines due to human rights violations being linked to Philippine state security forces.

“I'm sure not a single American taxpayer would like to spend American dollars to buy bullets or guns to kill the Filipino people. It is important for us to pass the Philippine Human Rights Act because it will put pressure on the Filipino government to tone down its human rights attacks. This bill will save lives in the Philippines,” said Colmenares.

The International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines- US chapter thanked the 50 representatives for their action and encouraged the international community to continue to support the Filipino people’s fight against the ATL and to defend their basic democratic rights.