The New People’s Army–Surigao del Sur in Northeastern Mindanao Region (NPA-SDS-NEMR) is implementing programs for health care and agricultural development to fight the COVID19 pandemic. The program is implemented amidst intensive attacks of the AFP and PNP in the countryside.
For health care, the NPA-SDS continue its sanitation programs and mass clinics. It revitalized the planting of herbals. It holds education activities about COVID-19, how to prevent transmission and manage those affected.
In places where there are available areas for planting, campaigns for mountain farming are launched. Such activities are advantageous under conditions affected by COVID-19 and there are travel restrictions limiting the transport of consumer goods and food. The problem of hunger is being solved and they will not depend on assistance from the reactionary government.
On the other hand, the US-Duterte regime has brought nothing but distress to the people in its implementation of programs to fight COVID-19. Many lost jobs in the cities. The material and financial assistance given by the local government units are not enough to fulfill the daily needs of families. Most of the relief goods are canned goods and noodles which does not help in bolstering health capabilities to prevent or fight COVID-19.
Aside from this, anomalies in the delivery of assistance are widespread and used for political gain and counter-insurgency. In the barrios where Community Support Program (CSP) of the AFP and PNP are implemented, instead of ensuring the people’s food supply, they are being repressed, especially those accused of being NPA supporters. For example, the AFP/PNP only allow each family to buy 3-5 kilos of rice. They are prevented from going to their farms and tend to their food crops. Adding to this is the intensifying and continues military operations of the AFP and PNP in the barrios and mountains. These makes life more difficult for the people in the countryside.
Amidst the crisis, the people can only depend on their united actions, by organizing themselves to implement programs and campaigns to face the effects of the harmful virus and hunger.