Hi hi hello readers, have you got a second?
I’ve taken on another (unpaid) role (instead of getting a job but who wants to work rn anyway??) which has my anxious ass communicating with people? What a concept! And so, I’ve much less time to put together a cutesy story around this in order to seem acceptable and charitable rather than angry, scared and personally involved. But someone on the internet was hellbent on being wrong and rather than wasting time arguing with them, I much rather do something constructive.
The Philippines makes the Western news nowadays for crude President Duterte and his brutal drug war, the number of deaths in which are disputed, but even the government’s count is over 5,000. But besides talking a big game (including perpetuating rape culture), what has he done for the most oppressed Filipinos?
If you hadn’t heard of how the US Drug War has gone and thought it would be a solution– you might think the problem would be solved by now. But this is what happens when you go after not just small-time dealers but criminalize using drugs rather than addressing why people may feel the need to turn to using or selling. You end up slaughtering toddlers and poor people that can barely afford their family’s coffins (cw: within 2 scrolls there’s a large photo of a dead body).
Since the 1970s Ferdinand Marcos administration/dictatorship, the Philippine government has depended on commodifying and exporting its people to work outside of it to send money back to make up its economy. OFWs (Overseas Filipino Workers) are hailed as heroes, but it’s as about as much lip service as the praise for essential workers is here in the US. There are tons of fees, taxes, and other costs to do this, and again, you would think with that the billions of dollars accumulated, so many Filipinos wouldn’t be impoverished. But millions are hungry while those in government gain billions. This sends the message that the Filipino people are not worth investment.
They are fit solely for being killed in the streets, being packed into prisons like sardines, separated from their families and put in precarious situations just to survive. Nobody can stand up for the Philippines when they neglect cultivation and depend on overseas remittances. A leader hasn’t implemented autonomy by allowing the military of the same wealthy countries preferential treatment over their population.
( * US irony dance break * )
It’s possible to point all of this out and not want the US to play world police. I acknowledge that I don’t have first-hand knowledge and that news outlets can have agendas. However, even though he may have cursed and a few trolls may have benefited by Duterte, the Philippines cannot be free if it isn’t free from the valuing of wealth and status over Filipino lives (if going out and conquering is the highest form of that, afterall).
The US has an atrocious history and present itself including that involving the Philippines. If you could care less about another country, consider that the US gives millions of dollars to the Philippine army— which harasses and bombs indigenous people. But the main thing is that a country particularly a small country that’s been subjugated by powerful others deserves the right to control itself.
This is why groups are urging US citizens to tell their representatives to support the Philippine Human Rights Act. This aims to repeal that US funding and a piece of its compliance rather than “intervention.” I believe that you can simply sign the petition, but it’s always great to call, follow or get in contact with organizations like those on the page and meet with lawmakers especially if you aren’t in the US.
Thanks for reading!