NDF-Panay reaches out with deep sympathy for the people who are undergoing added burdens and difficulties due to the Duterte government policies and impositions in handling the COVID-19 epidemic.
It is now so obvious that the Duterte administration is inutile and incapable in facing this malady from preparation until cases of COVID-19 in the country has reached 187 with 14 deaths.
The health system in the Philippines is pathetic made worse by Duterte cutting off P10 billion from the 2019 health budget. Many public hospitals have devolved into public-private-partnership where patients formerly enjoying free health services are now made to pay. Because of widespread corruption public hospitals are short of medicines, medical equipment are either lacking, out of order or outdated which cannot accommodate the number and needs of mostly indigent patients. In this situation how could Duterte say that his government is prepared and capable of handling the COVID-19.
According to health secretary Francisco Duque 3.1 billion is needed for COVID-19. NO FUND has been released by Duterte even when he has 4 billion at his disposal. He has not employed thousands of additional doctors, nurses and health workers that are needed, has not acquired tens of thousands of testing kits (the DOH has only 2,000 kits), the government has not centralized the supply of alcohol, face masks and other disinfectants in order to ensure the supply for hospitals and health workers and regulate their distribution to household levels. There is NO SUBSIDY for people whose daily income have been affected due to the ëlockdowní , for workers retrenched by companies, for transport workers affected by limited passengers. It has not supplied water to communities lacking in water. How could they maintain cleanliness when there is no water?
Since no national fund has been released Duterte has passed the buck on to the LGUs down to the barangay level which are also lacking in funds and resources. Right now there is no available supply of alcohol, disinfectants and face masks for barangay health workers who go house to house to monitor their communities. Even the PGH (Phil Gen Hospital) has blew the alarm of lack of alcohol.
Duterteís answer is Martial Law in the name of ëlockdowní or ëenhanced community quarantineí imposed on the people by the PNP and AFP. Instead of medical Duterteís approach has been militarist. Arrests and more difficulties are felt by the public especially the millions of poor and indigent whose daily income for day to day rice, food and other necessities has collapsed. Instead of giving immediate relief or subsidy to their lessened income, Duterte has stressed on impositions which have not helped the masses to avoid the virus but have only worsened their situation.
The state will use impositions in order to suppress those who protest or complain against its policies. Under this militarist rule, we should not be silent nor obeisant to impositions forced upon us. We must create different ways and means on how to bring into the open our complaints, demands and solutions to our problems. We must push for government action and responsibility, expose its uselessness and incompetence in facing the epidemic and push for immediate relief, needed subsidies and services to the people especially the poor and indigent.
Dare to protest against the militarist impositions of the fascist Duterte regime!
Persist in pushing for peopleís rights to free health services, immediate relief and sufficient subsidy! ##