A Mandamus petition was filed today at the Supreme Court compelling the Duterte government to conduct proactive mass testing and to release reliable and accurate data on COVID-19. Joanna Concepcion, the chairperson of Migrante International was joined by petitioners from other sectors like medical frontliners, senior citizens, scientists, K-12 students, teachers, public utility drivers, factory workers, professionals and homemakers.
Data from the World Health Organization shows that the Philippines is leading in the rise of COVID-19 cases in the Western Pacific region with 1,274 deaths. For more than three months, the Duterte regime has been sticking to its militarized approach, parading armoured vehicles in urban communities and yet expecting a different result. OFWs have incurred moral damages in the government’s mishandling of the repatriation and quarantine process. Majority of OFWs being transported back to their provinces are returning to their families without receiving any of the Duterte regime’s promised financial aid. Despite a reported suicide case and serious concerns on depression among quarantined OFWs, no psychosocial services are being provided.
While neighboring Vietnam, a country which geographically lies next to China has triumphed over COVID-19 by employing medical and public welfare solutions, the Duterte regime is addressing COVID-19 by burying the Philippines further into a humanitarian and debt crisis. From a record of Php 8.6 Trillion, government debt is seen to surge up to Php 9.59 Trillion in the coming months as the Duterte regime resorts to a borrowing spree. Malacañang’s ‘congratulations’ remarks are being mocked by the public following disclosure of June 30 DOH data showing that there were already 47,347 positive COVID-19 cases. The reporting of data into “fresh” and “late cases” further aggravated public mistrust.
With the poor delivery of amelioration and other services to OFWs and other sectors, one wonders where and how the Duterte regime will be spending this huge amount of borrowed money. This is why Migrante International fully supports the Mandamus petition filed today by different sectors at the Supreme Court to compel the Duterte regime to prioritize the lives of Filipinos affected by the COVID-19 crisis. As stated in the petition, we demand that the Duterte regime’s Department of Health and all other related agencies “to conduct proactive mass testing, efficient contact tracing, and isolation and effective treatment of positive cases.” Protecting the right to health of Filipinos and providing them with accurate and reliable information on COVID-19 is the government’s duty and obligation.