Mass testing, not mass arrests–NPA-FSMR

In the face of worsening problem on COVID19, imposition of lockdowns and enhanced community quarantines become more and more stringent but obviously unable to prevent the spread of the said virus. In fact, positive cases have now reached over 3,000 despite imposition of lockdowns in almost all the provinces and cities nationwide.

What is needed right now is for the government to conduct mass testing in communities to determine the actual number of COVID19 cases and take immediate and necessary medical actions. Calamity funds, the P275B emergency fund allocated by Congress, the regular health budgets as well as donations and other funds should be utilized immediately for mass testings in communities including remote and far-flung areas.

The government should not wait for victims to go to hospitals or testing clinics. In real life, the poor tends often choose not to go to hospitals despite being sick because they don’t have the money to go to hospitals and pay for their hospitalization. Thus, if they are actual COVID19 virus carriers, even if they stay quarantined in their homes or communities, there is always the risk of virus spread. In fact, there are already cases of local transmission, or victims having no travel history, which means carriers got the virus from their immediate surroundings.

Ironically, Duterte instead concentrates more on arresting lockdown or curfew violators and threatening the people of being shot or killed like the group of informal settlers in Quezon City who went outside to ask for relief goods. Those were hungry people looking for food. He even gave orders to the police to shoot at violators and threatened to file cases against Local Government Officials who will disobey his orders.

No one is to be blamed for this health and economic crisis but Duterte himself. The people who are just victims of his incompetence in handling this problem and his administration’s lack of a comprehensive health program to address problems like COVID19 are made criminals for trying to find a way to feed their family under the present situation. The LGU officials who directly witness the misery of their constituents are doing their best to provide their needs because they know how unfit and inefficient Duterte’s actions are, are being coerced to blindly obey him.

People who air their sentiments in social media are being harassed and arrested as in the case of a teacher in General Santos City who was arrested for expressing her mind over undistributed relief goods in the city. This shows that the lockdowns include locking down basic civil rights especially the right to express one’s opinion or the freedom of expression.

The poor are being arrested and detained over simple lockdown or curfew violations or for speaking their minds out while public officials who breach health protocols like Sen.Koko Pimentel and AFP Chief of Staff Filemon Santos remain untouched. These public officials carry with them the deadly COVID 19 virus but still went to public places and had close contact with other people.

NPA-Far South Mindanao encourages the people to unite and fight COVID19. More so, they must remain vigilant and unafraid to express their outrage to the government in every way possible for its ineptitude to find solutions to this life-and-death problem on COVID 19. Duterte is curtailing the people’s basic civil rights under the smokescreen of lockdowns and enhanced community quarantine. If the current crisis escalates, it is highly probable that the demagouge Duterte will put the whole nation under martial rule.#

Mass testing, not mass arrests--NPA-FSMR