While the fascistic Duterte regime imposed a stringent implementation of social distancing protocol upon the people ostensibly to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, its military and paramilitary forces in the countryside brazenly violate this.
The residents of far flung villages of Siaton and Zamboanguita reported having observed soldiers from 11th “Lapulapu” Infantry Battalion and their CAFGU auxilliaries initiating in broad daylight cockfighting and other illegal gambling activities like ‘hantak” (toss coin) on regular basis especially in the month of June and July drawing large crowd thereby risking people’s health from the contagion.
“Either Duterte is too incompetent to be followed as commander-in-chief or his soldiers and paramilitary forces are pathological gamblers,” said Rachelle Mae Palang Command- NPA Southeast Negros Ka Estrella Banagbang
Instead of being frontliners in the fight against the pandemic, soldiers and paramilitary forces are now becoming more of a liability and virus carriers, Banagbanag added.
The revolutionary farmers’ association Pambansang Katipunan ng mga Magbubukid (PKM) in Southeast Negros expressed concern that the current battalion-led combat operation launched by the 11th IB particularly in Sitios Luca, Sinamuhi and Tamlang in Barangay Talalac, Sta. Catalina and other adjacent areas starting July 6 will result in contagion and human rights violations.
According to PKM Southeast Negros Ka Diego Castro, many soldiers have already been infected and it is their standard practice during operation to encamp near populated areas or occupy people’s houses making civilians vulnerable to Covid-19.