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Dan Balucio

HRD, Pastor, Spokesperson
Bagong Alyansang Makabayan

Dan Balucio is a human rights defender and pastor of the United Church of Christ of the Philippines. He is also the spokesperson for Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, an umbrella organisation of workers’ unions, peasant associations, youth, women and indigenous peoples, committed to advocating for social rights, and the organisation of campaigns to peacefully protest the extra-judicial killings of human rights defenders and the militarisation of communities.

The climate of impunity in the Philippines, coupled with the administration's encouragement of extrajudicial killings of suspected drug users, as well as the increasingly hard line of the military against the Philippine National Democratic Front , have led to a serious deterioration of the situation of human rights defenders in the country. Since the election of President Rodrigo Duterte in May 2016, HRDs have faced a wave of assassinations and violence. Judicial harassment and the criminalization of HRDs remain common; politicians and private actors, such as mining companies, use the justice system to silence those who oppose their interests. HRDs are accused of violent crimes or of belonging to the New People's Army, the armed wing of the Communist Party. HRDs have also reported cases of close surveillance by the police. Since martial law was declared in Mindanao in May 2017, and given the fear that it will be extended to the whole country, human rights defenders are increasingly targeted by threats, acts intimidation and harassment by the military.