As the Duterte regime scrambles to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak, Fascist vipers from AFP and PNP are capitalizing on this emergency public health situation to push for a militarized lockdown in NCR. With the Duterte regime’s obsession for tyrannical violence and repression, Migrante International strongly opposes this draconian measure given that it is anti-poor and unnecessary. This lockdown will only bring death and misery to millions of poor and struggling Filipinos who will be prevented from pursuing their livelihood.
Severed from their jobs and itinerant trades, or from any other source of the little income they have, how will they survive? How will they bring food to the table? The poor are more likely to die from starvation than from the COVID-19 outbreak itself. Instead of a militarized lockdown, the Duterte regime needs to provide a more comprehensive response to effectively control the outbreak.
President Duterte only has to look at South Korea on how it managed to steadily decrease new COVID-19 cases without resorting to lockdowns. The country employed mass testing, medical technology, and effective public communication to reverse the upward trend of the epidemic. The fundamental health principle of prevention through voluntary public participation, multi-sectoral collaboration and free flow of helpful information will forestall panic and misinformation among the Filipino public.
For all the braggadocio on the “Universal Health Care” that the Duterte regime blustered, the COVID-19 outbreak exposed it as a pure sham and that it has only been used as a vehicle for corruption. It is not universal and there is no quality health care. Other medical services outside of the COVID-19 diagnostic tests are not covered and patients would still have to pay out of their own pockets. A genuine universal health care at this period of public health emergency should include free testing, PUI monitoring and free treatment for infected persons. This is what the Filipino public wants to see and experience.
We demand that the Duterte regime’s enormous amount of intel funds and pork barrel be rechanneled to subsidize and bring medical intervention to infected individuals and families. Immediate response must likewise be prioritized for the urban poor, contractual workers and frontline healthcare workers. For the long term, the health budget and allocations for social services must be significantly increased for the sake of the health and welfare of the Filipino people.
Migrante International warns the Duterte regime to never exploit the ongoing public health crisis to crack down on legitimate dissent and the democratic exercise of peaceful assemblies. We will not stand idle if cutthroats from AFP and PNP will take advantage of the impending lockdown imposition to carry out illegal raids, killings, warrantless arrests and other terrorist acts to suppress the Filipino public.
No to militarized lockdown!