Duterte’s camp visits, a big waste of money amid public health crisis

Rodrigo Duterte’s upcoming plan of Duterte to do the go arounds of visiting military camps is a big waste of public funds at a time when the Covid-19 pandemic demands that more resources be aligned to for strengthening the public health system.

The planned camp visits highlights Duterte’s military approach to managing the Covid-19 pandemic under which he has appointed and given extraordinary powers to former and current military generals, instead of doctors and epidemiologists, to lead his regime’s pandemic response. Instead of hiring more doctors and nurses, building more hospitals and laboratories, and buying more testing kits, he continues to squander money on the purchase of attack helicopters, missiles and bombs.

Duterte’s Covid-19 response is marked by corruption, devastating large-area lockdowns without mass testing efforts , low capacity of testing laboratories, failure to provide real-time pandemic information, and token health measures.

Duterte plans to undertake the camp visits to check and secure the loyalties of military officers amid widespread people’s indignation over the regime’s bungled response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Some well-meaning officers of the AFP, especially the younger ones, as well as the rank-and-file are surely as disenchanted as the people, as they themselves suffer from the devastating effects of the military response. They can easily see that counterinsurgency should not be the priority at the moment.

Many military officers, as well, are also disgruntled over how Duterte has favored the Davao generals with appointments to juicy positions.

Duterte’s planned camp rounds aim to consolidate his control of the military, sniff out and prevent any coup plots, and continue to pursue his plan to establish a fascist dictatorship. For sure, he will go around clad in iron, at the same time, bearing “gifts” for his loyalists.

Duterte's camp visits, a big waste of money amid public health crisis