Political repression in the Philippines: The deadly 'red-tagging' of activists

Under the presidency of Rodrigo Duterte (2016-2022), the war on drugs was often in the headlines. However there is another silent war behind several extra-judicial killings in Philippines: The war on dissent and “left-wing terrorism”.

The killing campaign, initiated by the ex-President, on what he called “communists” and “activists”, is now allegedly being continued by his successor. The Philippines current president Ferdinand Marcos Jr., elected in May 2022, is the son of a former dictator who led the country from 1965 to 1986.

The Marcoses, like Rodrigo Duterte, represent the return of a brazen right-wing fueled by hatred for communism. In 2018, Duterte created The National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict and qualified the Philippine Communist Party as a terrorist group to ban it.

Since 1965, the Philippines is facing an armed Maoist rebel group consisting of nearly 2000 militiamen. However, the conflict, as well as a Duterte 2020 anti-terrorist law designed to crackdown on dissidents and the left-wing, have led an increase in activist and journalist murder or incarceration.

A report from Manila by Constantin Simon, Sherbien Dacalanio and Matt Hunt.


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