The Filipino people are on the receiving end of Rodrigo Duterte’s gross disregard for public health in the face of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus outbreak. Much like the indifference he has shown during recent calamities, Duterte spurned responsibility to take decisive action against the possible spread of the virus which has now hit dozens of countries.
Afraid of China’s admonition, Duterte has opted to secure his selfish interests over the people’s welfare. Only after widespread condemnation did he accede to a travel ban from the virus’ country of origin. This is belatedly after the World Health Organization declared a Public Health Emergency, and different governments have decidedly taken drastic measures to limit the spread of the virus.
Aggravating this is the dismal state of public health in the country, where the majority who are poor have no access to free public health services. Having decreased the health budget year upon year since taking power, the Duterte regime failed to fund enough medical experts and equipment to determine and treat highly contagious diseases.
The Communist Party of the Philippines holds the Duterte regime accountable for its negligence and ill-preparedness. The Party urges health-related people’s organizations to mobilize for widespread information campaign so as to take precautions and prevent panic among the masses. The Filipino people must push for government health subsidies most especially for the poor who are most vulnerable to medical disasters. They must also fight large pharmaceutical companies who are exploiting the situation and bleeding the people.