Philippine President crossed another milestone of inhumanity by offering a bounty of $384 for every rebel killed by the armed forces. Human rights groups and other activists have accused Duterte to encourage violations of various conventions and disgracefully incite the army to commit war crimes.
The idea to offer price money for human life takes the idea that the government and military can resort to any means to win the enemy to a new normal. Duterte in his blind and murderous intent against the rebels and to check drug trade has resorted to many human rights cases of abuse in the past. He also plans to train various indigenous people as the paramilitary force and pay them 20,000 pesos or $384 for every communist rebel they kill in their community in the island of Mindanao.
The offer for bounty came after the killing of Duterte’s son and another indigenous leader who were well-known members of the paramilitary force in their community. The responsibility for killings was claimed by the armed rebel group, New People’s Army, who carried out the killings as they held the two responsible for extortion and land grabbing.
Many human rights groups have called the announcement as both appalling and inhumane.
Plight of the Indigenous People
Indigenous people feel highly alienated. Their lands are targeted by the government for coal mining operations and people harassed by the military thereby completely alienating them. The indigenous community has expressed shock and disbelief over the latest low talk of the President. ALCADEV or the Alternative Learning Centre for Agricultural and Livelihood Development stated that killing for money is not a part of their traditions or ethos.
The communist rebels operate in areas for protection of indigenous people from the atrocities of the military. Although Duterte government tried to engage in any peace negotiations with the rebels the latter were complete called off after the fresh clashes in 2017. The government has now labelled the rebels as a terrorist group, thus completely breaking the peace process.