Updated: Feb 1, 2020
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 22, 2019
GABRIELA LA condemns the outrageous display of macho-fascism by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) with the killing and desecration of alleged NPA leader Cindy Tirado in Tagum City, Davao del Norte, Mindanao.
Tirado was among the victims of a military operation by the 71st Infantry Brigade of the Philippines Army (IBPA) on April 15. She was reported to have been shot in the genitals and her arms fractured, indicative of torture.
GABRIELA LA holds Duterte responsible for this blatant violation of international humanitarian law. Tirado’s torture is the direct result of his regular encouragement of violence against women, particularly directing state forces to commit sexual violence during armed conflict. In 2018, he stated that a woman’s value in society can be reduced to her genitals, ordering soldiers to shoot female rebels in the vagina: “There’s a new order… We won’t kill you. We will just shoot your vagina.”
Furthermore, the dehumanizing manner of Tirado’s death is in clear violation of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law, a peace agreement between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines. This law upholds, protects, and promotes the full scale of human rights and fundamental freedoms for anyone involved in the armed conflict. Nonetheless, the recent killing of Cindy Tirado in addition to the 2017 death of Jo Lapira, another alleged NPA and former member of GABRIELA Youth in UP-Manila, exposes the truly anti-people character of President Duterte.
“Tirado's death demonstrates the deterioration of democracy in the Philippines under the Duterte administration. A just and genuinely democratic society ensures fair trial and humane treatment to its people regardless of political position. Clearly, the Duterte regime has only contempt for the lives of the Filipino people,” said Ariana Rodriguez, Secretary General of GABRIELA LA. “We are calling on Filipino voters in the U.S to vote against Duterte’s administration this coming midterm election.”
This humanitarian crisis—with 29,000+ killed in his “drug war,” dissenters regularly assassinated or jailed, and the military harassment and attacks on indigenous peoples and farmers—is facilitated by U.S. tax dollars. In 2018, Duterte received at least $186.7 million in military funding to fuel his war on the Filipino people, making the Philippines the largest recipient of U.S. military aid in Asia.
In response to the rising death toll and trampling of people’s rights under Duterte, this past March, over eighty people took part in lobbying US representatives to demand a hearing to investigate the human rights situation, and cut U.S. aid to the Philippine government. These lobbying efforts were in conjunction with the National Summit for Human Rights and Democracy, a convening hosted by Malaya Movement in which over 350 Filipinos and supporters from across the U.S. met to further strengthen the campaign to oust the Duterte presidency and defend human rights in the Philippines.
“Both Filipinos in the U.S. and others concerned with human rights in the Philippines have had enough of President Duterte and his shoot-to-kill policy. This policy will only lead to more cruel and unjust deaths — with women, children, and the poor most vulnerable to being harmed or, at worst, killed in the crossfire. As American people, we have a stake in what happens abroad with our taxpayer dollars to help put an end to this violence against women and ultimately, against the masses of ordinary people living under his dictatorship,” Rodriguez continued. “We urge people to join GABRIELA LA in the growing movement to cut U.S. military aid, oust the Duterte regime, and stop the killings.”
GABRIELA LA is a grassroots organization serving Filipinas in the Los Angeles community to address the rights and welfare of women through education, organizing, campaigns, and cultural work. We strive to build a mass movement recognizing that the problems Filipina women face are linked to the root problems of the Philippines.