People demand medical, not military solution

Amid the restiveness and hardship brought about by Duterte’s lockdown, national-democratic organizations made a clear call for action to address the people’s needs in countering the threat of the Covid-19 epidemic. The list of urgent demands is also a criticism of Duterte’s militarist solution to the crisis and a call to uphold the people’s welfare.

Their immediate demands include immediate free mass testing, provision of disinfectants, adequate supply of clean water and others. They also called for a massive information campaign about Covid-19 across the country.

There should be continuous and massive disinfection of communities, especially of the urban poor. They demanded the free distribution of food, vitamins and other medicines.
Demolition and eviction of the urban poor communities should be banned, according to the Ka­li­pu­nan ng Da­ma­yang Ma­hi­hi­rap (Ka­da­may). The group criticized the demolition in Pasay City on March 12, on the day the lockdown was imposed in the National Capital Region. Around 300 families were evicted from the New Era Com­po­und in Ba­ra­ngay 137, Zo­ne 15, Pro­tacio.

Workers and government employees must be given their wages and benefits in full. They must guard against mass layoffs, especially among the ranks of contractual government workers, under the pretext of a health crisis. They should be compensated during the lockdown. Likewise, a clear plan that will ensure the welfare of migrant Filipinos should be put in place.

According to the Alliance of Health Workers, personal protective equipment for doctors, nurses and health workers in the frontline against Covid-19 must be ensured. They should be compensated with appropriate hazard pay.

Organizations issued the list of demands amid the regime’s slow and inutile response to the health crisis. They pointed out that there are other proper and compassionate ways to respond to the crisis. This has been proven in other countries that did not impose fascist lockdowns, and instead heeded measures recommended by health workers and international health organizations.

For instance, Vietnman and South Korea conducted mass testing of patients, gave comprehensive support and aid to their peoples and ensured free medical care for all. In these countries, they assembled teams of health experts to supervise the response to the crisis.