Duterte must answer for all the victims of his apathy and inaction
Duterte and his minions will never be able to wash the blood off their hands—not even with floods from a thousand storms.
The Filipino people last night witnessed a tragedy as traumatic as they get. After bringing utter devastation to several cities in NCR and neighboring areas, typhoon Ulysses left Cagayan Valley and Isabela with floods unlike anything in the past. Pleas for help from residents of those areas crowded social media sites, accompanied by several audio recordings of people screaming for help. Private individuals were compelled to use personal contacts to call for immediate rescue. Citizens from across the country stayed awake all night in hopes of exhausting all means to help in whatever way they can.
The death toll is continuously rising as more people are being reported missing in places most affected by mudslides and severe flooding. At the same time, people are grieving over all their destroyed livelihoods — farms are unrecognizable, vendors’ products are consumed by floods, animals are drowned. Up until now, thousands are yet to be rescued.
In spite of all the chaos, neither Duterte nor any of his lapdogs are anywhere to be seen or heard, much less felt.
The Filipino masses are fuming. The lives of hundreds upon thousands of people were put in peril but their national government seemed to not be bothered at all. In fact, a day previous, Duterte’s spokesperson Harry Roque took to the press to insult the masses by saying that the calls to make Duterte accountable were merely plotted by the political opposition; and that the aftermath of typhoon Ulysses actually is “not so bad” considering less casualties were reported.
This is the scripted narrative heard from all of Duterte’s fascist gofers. Whenever the story of false resilience does not prove effective, victim-blaming is their go-to — all in vain effort to take the attention and blame away from the administration’s own lack of response.
The people know that this is not an isolated case for the Duterte regime. Particularly, this is the same regime that has been killing the people since 2016, and has now totally abandoned them amid the coronavirus pandemic for eight months and counting.
As much as coronarivus and the recent onslaught of typhoons have proved themselves to be brutal, ruthless, and deadly, the Duterte regime’s negligence and apathy is worse.
The administration should be made accountable for all their crimes that lead to this catastrophic event for the people. Immediately, the people must demand that the budget for the AFP and PNP’s sham modernization program be funneled to calamity response. For instance, military personnel were reportedly saying around 1AM today that aerial rescue operations should be put off until daybreak because night flying was “too dangerous” for civilian aircraft. It was very evident to the masses how the new boats and helicopters purchased for the military’s counter-insurgency — that costs billions —were nowhere to be seen.
The administration must also scrap the budget for NTF-ELCAC — a “task force” that does nothing but spread fake news even during a calamity. While thousand were still facing the typhoon and the very real threat of death, NTF-ELCAC spokesperson Lorraine Badoy was red-tagging media outlet CNN for merely sharing a donation drive being hosted by the League of Filipino Students — a legal organization that Badoy incessantly accuses of being a part of the CPP-NPA-NDF.
The youth and masses must decisively demand justice for all the victims of the regime’s criminal negligence. The longest pandemic lockdown that the world has seen thus far, as well as the record-breaking typhoons that has battered the country in the past three weeks, only intensifies the need to oust the Duterte fascist regime immediately. The people cannot take a minute longer of being under a regime that apparently has the energy, funds, and capability to wage a war against its own people, but seems to fall dead every time the masses need it the most.