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Read in: Pilipino
Further restrictions to public mobility and harsher lockdowns are to be enforced in the country in the face of a new Covid-19 variant said to be more forbidding than the previous ones. However, there is another epidemic, much more vicious than anything else, that has been spreading across the country – even more ruthless than Covid-19. It cannot be curbed by vaccines nor by social distancing. In its course, this epidemic has annihilated and destroyed millions of Filipino lives and livelihoods. It has killed more than 27,000 victims – more than the combined number of Filipinos who succumbed to all the different Covid-19 variants. This is the Duterte epidemic.
The Duterte epidemic does not choose its victims. In the eyes of this epidemic every civilian, young or old, educated or not, pregnant or sickly, are either members or supporters of the NPA. By means of state fascism and terrorism, it has exacerbated the unparalleled impunity and power vested upon the military and police. This aims to destroy the armed revolutionary movement through a dirty total war against the civilian and unarmed population, especially peasants.
Bikol is one of the places the Duterte epidemic has zeroed itself on. Contrary to his statement, Duterte has no love for the Bicolanos. In fact, he is killing and starving them beyond compare. The Duterte epidemic bred the devastating military operations and occupation against communities, both in the countryside and the cities, conducted by the Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF-ELCAC) and the Joint Task Force Bicolandia troops. This epidemic killed activists Jomar Palero, Marlon Napero and more than 180 of their fellow Bicolanos. It has caused hundreds more of human rights violation and destruction of livelihood in the region.
But the Bicolano masses, with the strength of its peasant base, will fight and defeat this Duterte epidemic. Even the harshest lockdown, most severe neoliberal attacks and dirtiest war will not destroy their unity and determination to hold the US-Duterte regime accountable for its crimes. They take as inspiration the bold courage of Jomar and Marlon in preparing, facing and fully defeating the worsening attack of the regime against their lives and livelihood.
Eradicate the Duterte epidemic that wreaks havoc in Bicol and the country!