Corruption amid crisis and pandemic


Amid widespread and seeming endless sufferrings of the Filipino people under the pandemic and oppressive lockdowns, the Duterte regime still managed to squander, loot and deny the people their money worth several billions of pesos.

The Filipino people are utterly outraged over the disclosures made by the Commission on Audit (COA) showing government anomalies, especially in handling pandemic funds which, insufficient to begin with, were wasted and squandered. Indicative of widespread and systematic corruption under Duterte, almost all major government agencies were dotted with the COA’s red marks. In an attempt to cover-up these anomalies, Duterte browbeated the COA to stop it from publishing its findings.

As tens of thousands die of Covid-19, more than a million infected, and millions upon millions losing jobs and suffering from destituteness and hunger, these anomalies are outrightly criminal and those responsible must be held accountable. These expose as false the claim that the reactionary state bureaucracy serves the people. In fact, it is a burdern that breaks the people’s backs.

The waste and mispriorities of the people’s money further worsen the crisis besetting the country and the people’s sufferings. The grossly insufficient, squandered and wasted pandemic funds severely incapacitates the country in overcoming the pandemic. There is a severe lack in mass testing, contact tracing, vaccination and efforts to ramp up the capacity of public hospitals, key measures to defeat the pandemic. More than a year has passed, yet health officials remain blind to where and how the disease spreads.

As a consequence government response is always behind the virus and in the end can only resort to repeated lockdowns. By relying on militarist lockdowns as pandemic solution, Duterte is bearing down on the economy and livelihood of ordinary Filipinos.

A large part of these anomalies comprises of unspent funds which Duterte has ordered to be centralized by the Department of Budget and Management. Many believe that this form part of efforts to funnel billions of pesos of funds to Duterte’s war chest, to pour into the economy by the end of the year or next year to create the illusion of growth, or to be used to buy votes and loyalty of politicians and to manipulate the election results.

The people are extremely nauseated how Duterte is prioritizing his schemes to perpetuate himself in power in the face of widespread sufferings of the Filipino masses borne out of his failure of governance and total neglect. The accompanying corruption in handling government funds adds to the people’s burden.

Duterte’s “anti-corruption” pretensions are thoroughly exposed as hollow. Hitting at small bureaucrats is merely a show to conceal large-scale corruption. The worse of the corrupt are his closest factotums, generals and most trusted officials who despite being exposed and condemned are allowed to continue to squander and waste the people’s money. The regime reeks from its putridity.

Because of Duterte’s worsening corruption, utter neglect and cling to power, there is a growing possibility of a worse public health, economic and political crisis breaking out in the coming weeks and months.

As more potent mutations of Covid-19 as the Delta variant emerges, there is a big threat of the pandemic worsening beyond the capacity of the health system. More and more nurses are resigning due to exhaustion in work and in waiting for their benefits. Hospitals are running out of facilities and people to man these, thus many falling sick are could no longer be treated. Yet, repeated lockdowns are still the regime’s primary answer, which is bound to further bring down the economy and the people’s lives.

The Duterte regime is wearing down the people’s patience. The people’s blood roils over how the corrupt bureaucrat capitalists prioritize their power, their vices, their wallets and pockets, even as the people suffer prostrate. The people are seeking where and how to pour their seething anger against the regime.

Progressive and revolutionary forces bear the responsibility of bringing together the people’s outrage and turn this into a powerful weapon for change. They must reach out to the millions seeking guidance and light as to the path for defending their rights and interests. They must overcome the restrictions of the lockdown and fascist rule in order to arouse, organize and mobilize the masses in a big way.

The Duterte regime strains to disunite the people through deception, lies, threats and violence. This must be matched by untiring efforts to unite the youth, the workers, peasants, the poor, women, nurses and doctors, teachers and other ordinary employees. Different sectors must be firmly united to manifest at all times the deep-seated anger over the current crisis caused by Duterte and his minions.

Anticipate any rapid twist or change in the situation and seize every opportunity to bring together the strength of tens of thousands of people in the streets and array the broadest range of forces to confront the corrupt, failed, treacherous and fascist regime.

As guide, the Party must teach that, on the one hand, systematic corruption in the Duterte government further worsens the crisis, the poverty and suffering of the people. On the other hand, this is also a symptom of the irresoluble and worsening crisis of the ruling system that can only be ended through revolutionary armed overthrow of the reactionary, puppet and bureaucrat-capitalist state.

Corruption amid crisis and pandemic