Worse crisis may erupt in the coming months—CPP

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) warned of a bigger crisis that may break out in the coming months as conditions in public health, economy and politics under Rodrigo Duterte continue to worsen.

In a statement published on August 13, the CPP said that the crisis may stem “from one or a combination of the Duterte government’s current failures: the continuing worsening pandemic; the collapse of the economy and deterioration of the people’s lives; and the regime’s tottering while the people’s patience wear down.”

The CPP pointed out Duterte’s irresponsibility in fulfilling the state’s tasks amid the pandemic. This includes his failure to strengthen the government’s capacity at free mass testing and effective contact tracing, which has rendered the regime blind as to where and how Covid-19 is spreading.

Daily Covid-19 testing in the Philippines remains at around 50,000, whereas tests should have by now reached 160,000-220,000 in order to keep the positivity rate at the standard 5%. This means that possibly thousands who may have been sick were not tested and continue to infect others. Currently, the 24.9% positivity rate of tests is at its highest.

Contact tracing is also grossly insufficient and ineffective. Health standards require that at least 30 close contacts of a Covid-19 patient need to be traced, tested and isolated. However, only 3-5 of them are being located by the present conduct of contact tracing in the Philippines. For every 10,000 new Covid-19 cases, possibly 250,000-270,000 close contacts of those infected were not monitored.

The CPP said that with the emergence of the Delta variant, and low level of vaccination in the country, there is a strong possibility that Covid-19 will spread more rapidly beyond the capacity of hospitals and facilities in the coming months. Reports show that nationwide intensive care unit bed capacity is now at 70%. Also, an increasing number of hospitals in the National Capital Region and neighboring areas confine their Covid-19 patients outdoors.

The Party also dismissed as “empty” the assurances of an “economic recovery” being touted with the reported 11% increase in the country’s gross domestic product in the second quarter of this year. Economists point out that this “growth” is being compared with the close to 17% drop in GDP during the same period last year.

The CPP observed that with the government’s failure to ramp up healthcare capacity, it is likely that the Duterte government will repeatedly impose lockdowns in the coming months. It said that this will most likely result in further spikes in unemployment figures, and sharp increases in the number of businesses going bankrupt. “This will lead to the heightened exploitation of workers, further deterioration of lives in both the cities and the countryside, and aggravation of other socioeconomic problems,” it added.

Because of the prolonged lockdowns which has become Duterte’s main answer to the pandemic, at least 10 million Filipinos have lost their jobs and livelihoods, while tens of thousands of small businesses went bankrupt. Latest figures also show that hunger is prevalent in more than 4 million families.

In addition to these, the CPP noted that a severe political crisis may batter the Duterte regime because of its failure to effectively manage the health and economic crisis. As Duterte’s end of term approaches, his scheme to perpetuate himself in power goes on full swing. According to the CPP, this will be marked by “intensified violence and deception to paralyze the people and all opposition.”

In the face of threats of a more severe crisis, the Party called on the Filipino people to take collective action, overcome limitations, and manifest their outrage and rejection of Duterte’s burdensome policies.

The CPP said that amid an impending outbreak of a bigger crisis, the responsibility of guiding and leading the Filipino people rests upon all revolutionary forces, as well as the progressive, patriotic and democratic activists.

Worse crisis may erupt in the coming months—CPP