Petitioning President Duterte

We are Mothers Against Extrajudicial Killings and Violence

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President Duterte,

As mothers who give birth to, and nurture the future of this nation, we demand that you end this drug war NOW. We fear for the youth, for our children every single day.

When innocent lives are taken, the powers that be call it “collateral damage.” This senseless crusade is selective against the poor and the voiceless. We feel the pain of every mother who has lost a child to violence. We think of Althea Fhem Barbon (4 years old) and Kimberly dela Cruz (16 y.o.) who were hit by stray bullets, and Kian delos Santos (17 y.o.), Carl Arnaiz (19 y.o.), and Reynaldo “Kulot” de Guzman (14 y.o.) whose deaths involved police officers. Kian was the 54th minor killed in this drug war. We mourn too for the children who have been abused and killed by criminal elements, and whose mothers still cry for justice. When parents and grandparents are killed, it hurts us to think that we are creating a generation of orphans.

The failure to fulfill your promise of peace and order, the daily killing of “drug suspects”, the random searches, the total disregard for human rights, the excuses of botched investigations by law enforcers themselves – these do not make us feel safe. As mothers, we worry about the safety of our children, their friends and their families. We are heartbroken over the killing of young people who, guilty or not, deserve due process. We are angered by the fear and violence that we are being made to accept as “normal.” Police forces, government officials, neighbors, and criminal elements can turn anyone into a suspect by simply writing a name down. What kind of world are we creating for our children, if they come to believe that killing is the easiest solution for the powerful?

The menace of widespread drug abuse needs far-reaching and humane solutions. Many Filipino families are mired in poverty, lack education on drug abuse, and are torn apart by economic needs. While drug abuse victimizes the poor, drug peddling is a global business benefitting the rich. End poverty, invest more in education, and create viable employment for our children, and you will address the roots of the drug problem. 

A macho/siga solution to the drug problem is inhumane, unjust, and criminal. Your public statements, irrational outbursts, and your “jokes” are contributing to a growing culture of violence, murder, and impunity.

President Duterte, we will teach our children to hold your administration accountable for the 13,000+ extrajudicial killings carried out under your watch. We will teach them that this is not something to boast about, that the violence that surrounds us today is not “normal.” We will teach our children to be brave, to respect life, to value due process and human rights, and to speak out against the violence and injustice that you condone on the most vulnerable of our people.

The Philippines is a signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Under Article 3, “ Everyone is entitled to life, liberty and security.” Articles 10 and 11, guarantee everyone’s right to a fair and public hearing and the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. The Philippine Constitution declares in Article 2, Section 4 that, “The prime duty of the Government is to serve and protect its people.”

President Duterte, call off the police, the military, the vigilantes, and the assassins in your drug war. They listen to you. Tell them to leave our youth alone. Tell them to stop the killings. There is an alternative way to end this problem.

Mothers of the Nation

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