Philippines: Killings continue amid Covid-19 pandemic

Justice for Marlon Maldos!

Stop The Attacks Against Cultural Workers!

by Mildred Grace German

March 20, 2020 – As COVID-19’s first case sprouted in December 2019, the New York Times published major articles on Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s brutal extra judicial killings (EJK). Reports of over 30,000 killings in the past three years of Duterte’s regime, in response to the drug crisis happening in the country, of drug suspects and addicts, of many innocent civilians, journalists, students, activists, and cultural workers were happening amidst the pandemic.

On March 17, 2020, cultural worker and peasant advocate Marlon Maldos, 25, was gunned down in broad daylight, the Catalyst reports. He is a member of Bansiwag (Bol-anong Artista nga may Diwang Dagohoy). As a peasant advocate, a choreographer, and a dancer, his choreography depicts particularly the plight of the peasants, workers, and fisherfolks. Through dance workshops he empowered the community, including the youth sector.

Maldos is the youngest victim of EJK in Bohol. His youth has been taken away.

The first COVID-19 death case outside China was first reported in the Philippines. However, Philippines’ pandemic crises have been in the 500 years of war, colonialism, settler-colonialism, neo-colonialism, Canadian mining, plunder, deprivation of sovereignty, forced migration, and diaspora.  In the fangs of the COVID-19 pandemic, EJK murders continue.

Red-tagging, arrests, and harassment occur in addition to the many violations of rights and the increasing militarization. My visit to the Philippines in 2019 was marked with the remnants of a US & China bullied regime and a failed War on Drugs. 

I encourage my fellow artists to take a stand on the increasing violations and attacks against cultural workers. Art is one of our strongest building blocks of human expressions, revolutions, dreams, and compassion. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, let us remain vigilant on the many ongoing aggressions and attacks against human rights.



Photo: Vine Arts Festival

Mildred Grace German is a multi-disciplinary artist / cultural worker,  with roots tracing back from SinagBayan Arts Collective. She is currently a film student at Weengushk Film Institute (WFI).

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