In the Philippines, a Youth Movement Stands Between Duterte and Dictatorship

Source: The Nation

Politicians aligned with President Rodrigo Duterte took all 12 of the Senate seats up for grabs in May’s midterm elections in the Philippines. Now the president known as “the Punisher” will have full control of Congress for the first time since he came to power in 2016.

Duterte’s violent, macho-fascist populism appears to have been consolidated and reaffirmed by the Philippine electorate. Not a single candidate running on the opposition slate made it into the “Magic 12.” With control of Congress, the road will be cleared for Duterte and his cronies to alter the Constitution to allow him to stay in office indefinitely and enact martial law across the nation.

To block that threat, a democratic mass movement, spearheaded by Filipino youths, is organizing. This campaign believes that it is the most powerful force left that stands between Duterte and a dictatorship.

When he ran for president, Duterte said his administration would be “bloody,” and he’s followed through with that grisly promise. As part of his war on drugs, police have gunned down thousands of Filipinos in the streets. Now in a bid to further institutionalize state violence, the administration pledges to reinstate the death penalty, as well as lower the age threshold for criminal prosecution.

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