Lockdown abuses and corruption must end

Marco Valbuena | Chief Information Officer | Communist Party of the Philippines
April 29, 2020
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1. The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) denounces the widespread abuse of power, violations of human rights and corruption under the Duterte government’s extended lockdown.

These abuses are being perpetrated by Duterte’s military and police forces who are under orders to compel people to “just obey” his orders to “stay at home” even if it has failed to provide them with the means to remain quarantined more than six weeks since he first detained everyone in their own homes. Rampant abuses are being committed in the National Capital Region (NCR) as well as in the provinces across the country.

More than 130,000 have been apprehended for violations of curfew, travel restrictions, face mask requirement and other increasingly stringent and repressive policies that are arbitrarily set by the police and government officials.

All over Luzon and many parts of the country, people’s rights are being abused by power-hungry military and police troops. Working people are being accosted in the streets and brutalized, tortured and subjected to various forms of inhumane and demeaning punishment. People’s private homes are being violated by the regime’s brutes. People are being threatened and silenced for expressing their disgust and exposing their conditions.

2. Corruption under Covid-19 is rampant. Duterte’s closest associates are raking in profits from his emergency rule. For instance, his business dummy Dennis Uy, had two of his ships rented by government for P35 million each, and turned into a quarantine center, even if another quarantine center at the PICC is underutilized. The PICC facility, on the other hand,was constructed by another Duterte crony, the Villars. There is also corruption in reported overpriced $1 billion purchase of personal protective equipment. The AFP Chief-of-Staff himself was exposed as using his position to receive favors when he wrote the Chinese embassy asking for some medicine for his personal use.

3. To justify more repression, the fascists have resorted to denouncing people as “pasaway” when they are compelled to make a living or merely stand outside their cramped and airless homes. In Manila, people’s rights in Sampaloc and other places were violated wholesale when they were forced to stay indoors for two days, even when there is no science behind such a measure. The mayor was forced to admit that the 2-day lockdown did nothing for public health, but congratulated himself because he claims it was able to change the people’s mindset. Of course, Mr. Mayor, a police state does that, out of fear, and nothing else. Martial law kills democracy. Ito ba ang palakad mo, mayor? Power-tripper ka pala. Gusto mong sumunod sa iyo ang mga tao dahil sa takot, kahit pa wala namang idudulot na kabutihan sa kanila? Iyan ba ang balak mong gawin sa buong Pilipinas sakaling ikaw ay tatakbo?

4. The regime is using the Covid-19 pandemic to extend the military lockdown and carry out all these measures to establish Duterte’s unquestioned powers. In the name of public health and using extraordinary powers which he got from his rubberstamp congress, Duterte is systematically placing the country under a “new normal” of a draconian police and military state. Part of his scheme is to make people believe that by placing the country under lockdown, he was able to
contain the virus, a claim that is not supported by any conclusive scientific study.

5. The continued lockdown and policy of detaining people in their homes are proving to be counterproductive. Because of the lockdown, people are dying of hunger and are already suffering from the grave sociological and psychological effects of prolonged detention in their homes. There are already a number of suicides by people who could no longer feed their children. There are rampant cases of domestic abuse as a result of people unhealthily being holed up in
their homes for long periods. Children, who studies have shown are generally not vulnerable to the disease, are unnecessarily being denied their right to play, go to school and socialize.

The experience of other countries have shown that a more democratic response to the Covid-19 pandemic is possible and effective, with the necessary public health measures to protect the elderly, pregnant women and the infirm who are most vulnerable to the disease.

6. Mahigpit naming sinusubaybayan at itinatala ang lahat ng pang-aabuso laban sa mamamayan ng mga upisyal at tauhan ng AFP at PNP, at malalaking burukrata kapitalistang nagsasamantala sa sitwasyon at nagpapahirap sa bayan. The people can send their reports and complaints against military and police officers and men who abuse their power and violate people’s rights. These reports can be sent via email, direct message or other means. The appropriate organs of the people’s democratic government, Party committees and units of the NPA will receive reports of these abuses, and can investigate and take action.

7. The Party calls on the Filipino to demand an end to the Duterte regime’s continued lockdown which was imposed in lieu of the necessary public health measures. They must assert that a more democratic and science-based response to the crisis is possible. They must oppose Duterte’s schemes to establish a fascist dictatorship and prolong the people’s sufferings under a draconian regime.

Lockdown abuses and corruption must end