“Duterte’s priorities in COVID-19 pandemic show no genuine concern for the people” — Migrante International

Maintaining his stone deaf attitude towards warranted pleas from the ground level, President Duterte went on a midnight rant threatening to slap LGUs with criminal charges. And while big political personalities have already been tested for COVID-19, tens of millions are left paralyzed by Duterte’s militarized lockdown. Worse, a whopping Php 14 Billion spending package for Tourism was allotted by the Duterte regime as healthcare providers express fears on the looming collapse of the country’s healthcare delivery systems. 

The allotment of Php 14 Billion for tourism is Duterte’s mockery against ordinary Filipinos. Since almost all tourism facilities in the country are highly privatized, this is Duterte’s way of subsidizing private profit when the impoverished masses need food, financial relief and medical assistance. The Duterte regime’s revulsion for the poor is further attested by the suspension of social pensions, cash assistance and other services to indigents when the government could have instead just provided Personal Protection Equipment to social workers and made adjustments to implement social distancing. 

President Duterte will long be remembered as the only president in history who right in the midst of a state of national calamity, presided over the suspension of social welfare services while generously subsidizing private profit. 

We felt debilitating pain hearing about the agony of cancer and dialysis patients who were forced to walk miles just to reach hospitals and treatment centres due to the total ban on public transportation. Millions grapple with their little or zeroed cash as the government’s enhanced lockdown continues to divorce them from their work and livelihood. Meanwhile, the plight of OFWs do not appear to be reaching Malacañang’s radar. Migrante International calls on government agencies to include OFWs in their publicized COVID-19 infection tallies. 

Over 118 OFWs have already been infected with COVID-19 and those who are still sturdy and sound are beginning to lose their jobs. Just days ago, 200 Filipinos were unexpectedly laid off by Qatar Airways. Thousands of OFWs are either stranded or are set to return back to a country battered by a worsening humanitarian crisis. 

In the midst of these woes, the Duterte regime is unremitting in inflicting more Fascist crimes. Cultural activist Marlon Maldos was abducted and shot by military elements in Bohol on 17 March 2020. NDFP Peace Consultant Julius Giron along with two others were massacred during a raid in Baguio City. Based on trumped-up charges, Gloria Tomalon, the sister of Bayan Muna Rep. Eufemia Cullamat was arrested this morning in Lianga, Surigao del Sur. Migrante International denounces all these atrocities. 

Instead of tormenting the people with more state-terror, the Duterte regime needs to address the problems caused by the militarized lockdown and listen more to assessments and inputs from the ground. Threats of arrest will only enrage citizens already reeling from hardships they now face. Migrante International therefore calls on the Duterte government to lift the suspension on social welfare services to give immediate relief to millions of indigent families who badly need assistance at this time of calamity. In the same manner, the Duterte government must not leave OFWs in the dark as they are among the most vulnerable sectors in this global pandemic. Most importantly, it is only through medical and public health intervention that the country will be able to address the COVID-19 pandemic and not through militarization and tyranny. 

Gamot hindi bala! Ospital hindi selda!

Libreng medikal! Hindi militar!

Libreng COVID19 testing sa mga mahihirap, hindi lang sa mga politiko at sikat!

Ayudang pinansyal, hindi turismo!

Serbisyo, hindi negosyo!

People over profit!