10 measures against Duterte’s destructive and pandemic effect on the people
The Duterte government’s response to the pandemic has been a big failure. The people are mired in hunger and joblessness even as the virus continues to spread after almost three months under lockdown.
The regime squandered the people’s sacrifices in one of the world’s longest lockdown. It did not strength the health system. It did not undertake mass testing and contact tracing. It remained blind to the extent of infections. It only used the lockdown to pocket billions of pesos, suppress the people and ram neoliberal policies and fascist measures that it failed to enact before the lockdown. The regime should be held responsible for the inutility, corruption, militarism and misplaced priorities in the midst of the pandemic. The people should unite to fight for their democratic rights and welfare.
1) They should demand that the government fund free mass testing efforts instead of wholesale quarantines. Demand the mass mobilization of health workers and people’s volunteers for contact tracing.
2) They should demand emergency funding to strengthen public hospitals and medical facilities, provide sufficient protective equipment for nurses, doctors and health workers and raise their wages. Demand free hospitalization of Covid-19 cases to encourage infected people to seek treatment. Demand funding to establish state enterprises for mass production of testing equipment, as well as personal protective equipment. Demand increased funding support for Filipino scientists to conduct research to develop a vaccine.
3) Demand prompt and complete delivery of sufficient food and economic assistance as promised and allow access to jobs and various means of livelihood to prevent mass hunger. Demand suspension of payments for electricity, water and rent and prohibit disconnections and evictions.
4) Demand democratic access to exact and real-time data and critical information on the pandemic. Demand wider community-based public education to raise the people’s scientific knowledge about the virus. Put a stop to censorship and political harassment of private citizens and red-tagging of activists in social media and other platforms.
5) Demand measures to address the impact of the lockdown on vulnerable sectors such as the elderly, those with underlying illnesses (including mental conditions), health workers, pregnant women, women in general, as well as people who were forced to evacuate due to militarization and natural calamities. Demand the mass release of political prisoners and those arrested for lockdown violations.
6) Demand immediate removal of restrictions on livelihood and work and travel. Remove the checkpoints. Demand the restoration of the people’s right to peaceably assemble in a safe manner in their communities and public spaces.
Demand appropriate, targeted and time bound quarantine measures to the smallest possible area. Carry out targeted quarantine in a democratic and acceptable manner with the participation of community.
Demand immediate removal of restrictions against peasants/farmers. Demand the withdrawal from rural communities of AFP soldiers spread not only terror but also the virus in the countryside.
7). Demand a safe working environment for workers and employees and demand companies to provide safety equipment and hygiene kits. Demand regular testing, and higher hazard pay. Provide subsidies for jeepney and tricycle drivers and operators and smaller bus companies to enable them to provide health safety in their public utility vehicles and compensate for loss of income.
8) Demand funding so that schools can reopen. This includes more classrooms and teachers, more public spaces for sports and play.
9) Jumpstart the economy by giving economic subsidies and assistance for workers, farm workers and low-income families to stimulate local demand and production.
Demand wage increases and a national minimum wage to raise the standards of living of workers across the country. Demand the rescinding of Labor Order 17 issued last May 16 which allow companies to “voluntarily” reduce wages. Demand full support for returning overseas Filipino workers.
Demand a suspension of land rent and cancellation of peasant debt. Demand free distribution of land to peasant tillers.
10) Demand funding support for small businesses and small professionals to enable them to resume economic activity in a safe manner and continue to earn reasonable profits.
Demand suspension of automatic debt payments. Demand the suspension of the TRAIN law, the withdrawal of Duterte’s oil tax and a rollback in the prices of fuel and other basic commodities. Demand a stop to more business incentives while the people bear the burden of higher taxes. Impose taxes on the wealth of the richest Filipinos.