Tanggol Bayi, an association of women human rights defenders (WHRDs) in the Philippines, strongly condemns the succession of violence against women by State forces amid the implementation of the Duterte government’s anti-people policies, foremost the war on drugs and counterinsurgency program Oplan Kapayapaan.
The drug war did not only spin a series of brutal killings perpetrated by police forces who hide behind their twisted narratives. This campaign by the Duterte regime also gave rise to cases of gross violence against women and children committed with impunity. Several non-government organizations revealed a heinous scheme called sex-for-freedom scheme or “palit-puri” rampant among police operations, but have exponentially worsened amid the drug war. This involves police operatives using the drug war to rape women, by way of bargaining unwanted sexual intercourse with suspected women drug suspects or women relatives of persons they accuse of peddling drugs in exchange for freedom.
Tanggol Bayi mentioned the case of a 15-year-old girl who accused a policeman, identified as PO1 Eduardo Valencia, of forcing her to have sex, guaranteeing her parent will not face detention if she agrees. In other reports, two policemen of the Quezon City Police District (QCPD) were also charged for forcing a woman to have sex in exchange for her freedom. Choosing to remain anonymous, the victim narrated that she was arrested along with others and was forced to have sex and perform other sexual acts in exchange for her freedom.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) is truly a disgusting institution that does not understand the basic concept of human rights and women’s rights, regardless of the millions funneled to its hogwash “human rights program”. Aggravated by a macho-fascist President who encourages assault on women, these cases prove that the roots of this patriarchal mindset and the utter disregard of people’s rights and women’s rights run deep into the prevalent social structure in the Philippines. A superficial human rights workshop will only be mere palliative, if not a wrong prescription to the problem.
The implications of the government’s anti-people campaigns to the lives of women should be closely looked at. Such rotten schemes reveal how State institutions have progressed very little in their view and treatment of women. The incidents should be investigated and a mechanism must be put in place to ensure that schemes as the “palit-puri” are immediately halted. More importantly, those responsible for the heinous crime of rape and other forms of sexual violence, along with other grave rights violations committed in the name of the drug war, should be punished and brought to justice. Such acts are unforgivable and an affront to society.
Tanggol Bayi also cited the the study done by the Center for Women’s Resources (CWR) which reported a total of 13 abuse cases against women by police forces from January 2017 to July 2018. The proliferation of these practices reveals that men in uniform are the foremost violators of human rights in the country.
Meanwhile, alongside the implementation of the drug war, women human rights defenders have also been the target of the Duterte regime’s counterinsurgency program. As of September 2018, 33 women and WHRDs have already been killed under the Duterte regime. Criminalization of WHRDs also remain rampant, as 45 women political prisoners remain in detention.
The Philippines is not a safe space for women and women human rights defenders. This has been increasingly so under the Duterte government. This regime has talked about “cleansing” its own ranks and weeding out the bad apples when in truth, it preserves the system that coddles rapists and murderers.
Reference: Geri Cerillo, Tanggol Bayi Coordinator, 0918-9790580
Originally Published on Karapatan.org on Wednesday, 14.11.2018 at 12:12
Please refer to articles published by Inquirer for further information on palit-