NDF-EV: Fight for free, safe vaccination, hold Duterte accountable for procurement fiasco

The National Democratic Front-Eastern Visayas today called on the people to demand for free and safe mass vaccination against Covid-19. The NDF-EV believes it is in the interest of the people that the spread of the disease be controlled by vaccinating as many of the informed public. Revolutionary forces shall join the information campaign to raise the people’s awareness regarding vaccination against Covid-19.

The call for free and safe vaccination follows the people’s condemnation of the regime’s slow, anomalous and corruption-ridden procurement of vaccines. It is only the latest in Duterte’s seemingly endless blunders in responding to the pandemic, following his barefaced refusal to fund mass testing, efficient contact-tracing, free Covid-19 treatment, and strengthening of the public health care system as well as scientific research and development, among other acts of criminal negligence.

Duterte has no intention to conduct mass vaccination and seeks to profit from future deals. In the 2021 national budget, only a measly 2.7% of the P72 billion needed to vaccinate at least 60% of Filipinos was allocated. Duterte plans to go on another borrowing-binge to procure the rest of the needed doses where he and his ilk can swindle more from these deals. He masterminded the tripartite scheme where local government units and private businesses are made to shoulder expenses for the vaccine deals while the national government as negotiator pockets earnings from the deals. Meanwhile, the vast majority of local governments who cannot buy vaccines for their impoverished constituents are made to wait in vain, along with the rest of the health workers and other frontliners to whom priority should have been given.

For months Duterte prated to the media that only a vaccine can stop the pandemic. But after smuggling Chinese vaccines to secretly inoculate his security group, his most scandalous and grave abuse of power in relation to pandemic, no one believes he has any plan for mass vaccination, or that he has wants to decisively stop the spread of the pandemic in the country by leading a scientifically-proven government response. As governments across the world distribute millions of doses for their citizens, he has made sure to save only himself and leave the rest of Filipino people fighting over limited supply.

In the 2021 national budget, Duterte alloted only P1 billion for vaccine procurement but alloted P19 billion pesos for the NTF-ELCAC, P58 billion for the military’s modernization program, and P8.3 billion worth of presidential intelligence funds. He cannot fund mass vaccination but will buy more fighter jets, attack helicopters and planes, drones, tanks, 500-pound bombs, artillery weapons and other war toys. As a pandemic rages and the people are knee-deep in hunger and poverty, his priorities are clearly set in order.

The people must hold the Duterte regime accountable for its failure to secure free vaccination for the Filipino people. They must wage all forms of protest to hold him accountable and oust him from power for his countless acts of criminal negligence, uselessness, corruption, abuse, tyranny, and terrorism that have caused grave hardship and destruction for the broad masses.#

NDF-EV: Fight for free, safe vaccination, hold Duterte accountable for procurement fiasco