By Jose Maria Sison
NDF Chief Political Consultant
March 16, 2020
Let us trace the sequence in the nationwide spread of the Covid-19 pandemic in the Philippines by the Duterte regime.
First, Duterte made the people vulnerable to the entry of Covid-19 by allowing more than 500,000 travelers from China (including more than 14,000 from Wuhan) since early January to enter the Philippines on the argument that revenues are necessary from Chinese tourism and the POGOs.
Second, he and his minions dismissed Covid-19 as no problem while people were already being afflicted with the deadly virus for more than two months and no effort was taken to contain it. They trumpeted to the world that they succeeded in containing the virus and claimed that only the husband of a tourist Chinese couple died of the virus.
Third, there has been no reallocation of public resources (i.e. from the intelligence and discretionary funds) in order to muster health personnel and resources in hospitals and community-based health centers for containing the virus. The Duterte regime proceeded to enjoy military overspending and unbridled corruption at the expense of public health, education and other social services.
Fourth, after Covid-19 has already conspicuously spread nationwide, the regime pretends to mind the problem by adopting repressive measures in what they call “community quarantine” in Metro Manila by mobilizing the military and police to hold up and mass up people at checkpoints, mixing the healthy people and possibly a sick few and preventing the working people from reaching their work places.
Fifth, the so-called community quarantine is now being applied in the entire Luzon and possibly in the entire country. The rule is even more repressive and stupid: “Enhanced community quarantine means transportation will be suspended, provision for food and essential health services shall be regulated and heightened presence of uniformed personnel to enforce quarantine procedures will be implemented.”
We can expect that in the days and weeks to come the Covid-19 will spread further through holdups and mass ups at military and police checkpoints and the working people, especially those dependent on daily wages, will be deprived of income and will be made to starve.
But the brutal government makes the false promise that it will provide food to the doorsteps of households even as it has failed to provide for free thermal scanning and diagnostic testing at the level of the community. At any rate, the economy will further sink and the outraged people will move against the Duterte regime. ###