On Aug. 21, the Philippine National Day of Mourning and Action, the Party for Socialism and Liberation San Diego co-hosted an action in an effort to end U.S. funding to Rodrigo Duterte’s military in the Philippines. The demonstration was led by Anakbayan San Diego, an organization led by Filipino youth committed to improving the rights and welfare of young people living in the Philippines as well as in the United States. The rally and march took place in Balboa Park, a popular destination for both tourists and San Diegans.

The rally began with a call to action from Anakbayan member Nika Chinarath. “We are here to fight for the toiling masses of Filipinos and to honor those who have lost their lives for being poor, for being indigenous, for fighting against the injustices brought upon [by] this genocidal U.S.-Duterte regime,” she announced. She then introduced another Anakbayan member, Nicole, who read out just some of the names of thousands of Filipino activists who had their lives taken by the Duterte regime.

Next, Charlie of the PSL spoke about the connection between the current struggle against the Duterte regime in the Philippines and imperialism:

“The people of the Philippines have struggled too long under the yoke of Spanish and U.S. imperialism and the time has come to finally free themselves and get real self-determination and real national democracy that their people have been denied for far too long. I condemn in the strongest terms the actions of the Duterte regime as a puppet for U.S. imperialism.”

Before the rally, Carmela Prudencio of Anakbayan San Diego discussed the human rights violations occurring under the Duterte regime, the effort to push the UN to condemn this violence, and the importance of fighting for true Philippine liberation:

“We, the Filipino people and our allies, have successfully called on the United Nations to investigate the ongoing human rights violations imposed by the Duterte administration! We support the UN on this resolution, but Duterte has continued to intensify his fascism — not only in the Philippines. Here in the U.S. on June 15, during the sell-out Lumad speaking tour created to cover up the blood[-letting] committed by his genocidal regime, Philippine human rights activists, our kasamas, our friends here in the U.S. were met with surveillance and physical violence.

Recently, these violent repressions manifested themselves with the attempted assassination of Brandon Lee […]. Brandon started out like us — a youth who joined the Philippine national democratic struggle and voluntarily dedicated himself to our just cause. For his selfless dedication to the indigenous people of the Cordillera region, he was met with not one, but four bullets from suspected goons of a government that has never been found to shy away from violent reprisals, a government backed by the U.S.”

After the rally, a march to the Hall of Nations of Balboa Park commenced. Activists and organizers took the streets of Balboa Park wearing black and chanting “Duterte, you can’t hide, we charge you with genocide!” and “Not another nickel, not another dime, no more money for Duterte’s crimes!”

Since Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has been in office, over 30,000 Filipinos have been killed as a result of the so-called “War on Drugs,” which primarily targets activists and youth. Duterte’s regime has also displaced over 400,000 indigenous folks, and has led to the deaths of 200 human rights activists. The death toll is rising with each passing day. 

The Party for Socialism and Liberation stands in solidarity with the Filipino people and their National Democracy Movement. Demonstrations like this one remind us of the importance in joining the struggle for liberation in the Philippines and across the globe by taking a stand against U.S. imperialism in all its forms!