The people have suffered enough under the unparalleled ineptness of the US-Duterte regime in handling the Covid-19 pandemic, the economic crisis that it has caused and the relentless terrorist attacks against the people.
Covid-19 infections have soared to almost 8,000 daily with more than 12,900 deaths. After one year of lockdowns, the public health system remains crippled. There is no mass testing, rapid contact tracing or free treatment of Covid-19 patients. There is still no mass vaccination. Again and again, repressive and futile lockdowns are resorted to whenever cases of infection shoot up. Thus, not only does Covid-19 continue to spread, the economy and livelihood are wasted, and millions suppressed.
Due to the unprecedented destruction caused by the lockdowns, Duterte was left with no choice but to lift restrictions on business operations. But since he did nothing to strengthen the health system (even vaccine procurement was snail paced), he is only putting the country at risk of a worse pandemic.
As before, lockdowns, curfews and checkpoints are the regime’s response to renewed rise in Covid-19 cases, if only to make it appear that something is being done. These do not bring anything but suffering to the people. Ordinary people face hardships and danger. They could ill-afford to buy rice and meat, what more if they get sick. Meanwhile, Duterte’s officials get themselves tested repeatedly using people’s money. Malls, tourist spots and cockpits were opened, but schools remain close. Children and youth remain imprisoned in their homes, causing parents great distress.
Workers, employees and toiling people are the most vulnerable to the spread of infections in fully operational factories, offices, crowded public transport and in their small congested shanties. While big capitalists enjoy big profits and revenues, large spaces in their offices and homes, where they could be physical distanced and safe from infections. Bureaucrats pocket the people’s money in unmitigated corruption.
The Duterte regime is an epic failure especially when compared to pandemic management in Vietnam, New Zealand and Taiwan. They demonstrated the importance of a strong public health system, mass testing and rapid contact tracing. There are indications that vaccination can help stop the spread of the virus, but this is yet to be proven in the coming months, especially with new variants that are more transmissible and possibly resilient to the vaccines. What has been proven is that the principal factor in successfully controlling the pandemic is a state that is capable and has sufficient resources for public health.
The problem is, in the face of the raging pandemic, the incompetent Duterte government has other priorities. In its budget this year, funds for Covid-19 vaccines are sorely insufficient, making it borrow left and right just to have the money to buy. No funds were allotted for free mass testing and rapid contact tracing, but money poured for the military, the police the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).
Failing to do anything to strengthen the health system and relying only on military and police solutions, the Duterte regime will surely fail to control the pandemic, and thus, fail to revive the economy. It will lead the country nowhere but to further crisis, worse unemployment, bankruptcies, loss of income, decline in production, rising prices, hardships and hunger.
Amid grave people’s sufferings brought about by the pandemic and economic crisis, the fascist regime prioritizes its relentless campaign of suppression. Over the past months, the attacks of the fascist state have been more vicious and deadly against the democratic forces opposing its anti-people policies and measures.
Under the Anti-Terror Law and Duterte’s order to “kill all communists,” the NTF-ELCAC, Duterte’s military junta, initiated a series of coordinated killings and arrests in Southern Tagalog, Bicol, Panay and the National Capital Region. Duterte and his fascist cabal’s hands are dripping in the blood of their victims. In addition to the AFP and PNP, it uses the courts, other agencies and local government units as pawns in its dirty war of state terrorism to silence and suppress the people.
The mass killing by the bloodthirsty Duterte deserves all-out condemnation. Unless stopped, his penchant for murder will soon lead to more massacres and mass killings. Duterte has no other aim but to instill fear and disunite the people, to ensure he will remain in power and extend the reign of his corrupt political dynasty beyond 2022.
The people must cast away their fears, strengthen their courage and strive to expose, denounce and fight the campaign of suppression of the US-Duterte regime and its anti-democratic, militarist and failed response to the pandemic. At the same time, they must tirelessly voice out their grievances and demand wage increases, rollback in the prices of oil, food and other necessities, immediate aid for all the impoverished, and other immediate measures to address their welfare.
While some groups are now focused on the 2022 elections, the Filipino masses must exert efforts towards large street demonstrations to manifest their collective indignation and demand an end to the fascist tyranny. At the same time, the New People’s Army will strive to defend the masses and punish the fascists with grave crimes against the people.