Rodrigo Duterte is blaming the Filipino people when it’s his government who failed to conduct mass testing at the early stage of the pandemic in the country, neglected the need for preparing health and quarantine centers, and inadequately responded to the economic needs of the people.
This is an outright dismissal of the people’s legitimate concerns and demands, worse, it his regime’s excuse for the incompetency the government is doing. Duterte has been using this rhetoric and “pasaway” narrative to abuse the people’s fear of the virus and implement more draconian measures which hinders the people’s access to their economic and democratic rights.
People flock out of their homes, especially the poor, not because of stubbornness or boredom, but because quarantine measures in place cannot resolve their basic needs and the government has been slow and incapable of providing immediate relief. Duterte belittles this concerns in order to put the blame of the further spreading of the virus on the people, and not on his incompetent handling and downplaying of the pandemic. What he fails to recognize is that his military lockdown resolves nothing but impose stricter rules over the people. His regime had done nothing but exploit the pandemic to enforce his martial rule and enable a culture of abuse within the ranks of the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines. The arrest of relief workers from #TulongKanayunan is just the first example of more tyrannical maneuvers to install his fascist dictatorship. State officers are now emboldened to dismiss the law to follow the orders of the president in the guise of peace, order, and safety from the virus.
His “total lockdown” and “martial-like” implementation is essentially a de facto martial law. He had already increased the control of the AFP and the PNP in provincial and regional matters, effectively superseding local government units and intensified their deployment in the island of Luzon.
However, the people needs medical solutions and economic aid, not more policing, warrantless arrests, and even forced entry inside civilian households. A comprehensive medical program, which has been proposed by various organizations and scientists, is the only way to control the virus, but instead of resolving the national emergency, Duterte has been busy in controlling the people. The Filipino people must stand united in demanding our needs to fight COVID-19 and hold Duterte accountable for endangering the lives of enntire population.
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