The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) today welcomed the statement of Pope Francis calling on governments to divert funds spent on weapons to research to prevent another pandemic. The leader of the Roman Catholic issued the plea as he led an outdoor prayer service in the Vatican yesterday.
“The Party considers Pope Francis’ call to divert funds spent on the purchase and development of weapons as an urgent appeal in the face of rising militarism and fascism while people are suffering from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Marco L. Valbuena, Chief Information Officer of the CPP.
Pope Francis urged government leaders to “take a far-sighted attitude, helping the most needy now and putting in place long-term economic and social solutions.” He prayed that the leaders’ consciences would “be touched so that enormous sums spent to possess more armaments and to perfect them be instead destined to the promotion of sufficient research to prevent such catastrophes in the future.”
“The Filipino people must amplify Pope Francis’ appeal especially in the face of the Duterte regime’s obsession with purchasing attack helicopters, bombs, cannons and other war matériel to wage war and suppress the democratic rights of the Filipino people,” added Valbuena.
Duterte recently purchased billions worth of weapons amid the intense economic crisis brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic. Last May 12, he issued a notice to proceed with the procurement of the artillery systems worth P2.4 billion from Israeli company Elbit Systems.
The procurement program was made under the AFP modernization program which aims to boost Duterte’s arsenal in a vain attempt to fulfill his ambition to decimate the armed revolutionary movement before the end of his term.
Relatedly, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) of the US Department of State approved last April 30 the Duterte regime’s request to buy six AH-64E Apache Attack Helicopters, missiles, and other war matériel and services worth P75 billion.
Valbuena said that the use of oversized cannons and helicopter gunships has resulted in the indiscriminate destruction of communities and the environment, endangerment of people’s lives and livelihood, and widespread terror and psychological trauma especially on children.
The Party calls on the Filipino people to demand the cancellation of these arms deals as this gravely undermines the majority of the Filipino people hit hard by the health crisis and the regime’s failed response to the pandemic. In line with the call of Pope Francis, the people must demand the realignment of war funds to research and emergency public health and economic measures to alleviate the sufferings of the people.