Bayan on Duterte’s Hitler reference

Press Statement
October 1, 2016

We do not subscribe to the President’s referencing of Hitler in relation to the war on drugs and the killings of so-called drug addicts. Killings by state forces of unarmed civilians, even if they are suspected criminals, goes against the principle of due process. It is also important that the President realize that the drug menace will not be solved simply by killing the 3 million addicts whom the President believes threatens the survival of the next generation. The drug problem is not a mere police problem. The socio-economic roots of the proliferation of illegal drugs should be addressed along with the need for a comprehensive rehabilitation program. The police force, itself tainted with corruption and links to drug syndicates, cannot be given carte blanche in dealing with the scourge of illegal drugs.

We still believe though that despite his tactless reference to the German dictator, the President is no Hitler and is capable of advancing meaningful pro-people reforms towards a just peace. There are other leaders he can and should emulate and promote such as Andres Bonifacio, Claro M. Recto and Lorenzo Tanada, all of whom resisted foreign dictates and fought for a sovereign Philippines. The president is correct in denouncing US and EU hypocrisy in relation to human rights. He however should not let human rights violations by state security forces continue under his own watch, much less condone them by invoking the enormity of the drug problem.