Who have been declared “communist-terrorists” by state security forces and the National Task Force to End the Local Communist Armed Conflict? Practically all sectoral organizations advocating for reforms and genuine change. They did not spread terror or cause panic among the public but called on the government to act on legitimate demands of ordinary citizens.
With billions of pesos at its disposal, from the nation’s coffers and from loans incurred in our name, this government still failed to institute even the minimum standards for COVID-19 response. Of the P380-billion COVID-19 budget under the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, it has spent P12.32 billion for health or merely 3.2 percent of the total COVID-19 allocation.
While it is true that ordinary citizens are expected to maintain civility, speaking out should not be criminalized. We are being punished for demanding from government what it should have been doing in the midst of a health crisis.
“Now they have an idea of how painful and difficult it is for the families of the disappeared.”
“The humane treatment of persons under detention and their release from prison in the midst of a raging pandemic are in consonance with international laws, among them the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, to which the Philippines is a state party.”
Karapatan ST is calling on the government to focus on “providing relief and serving the people through coming up with a solution to the crisis, instead of using the pandemic as an opportunity to intensify fascist attacks on the citizenry.”
The Duterte administration should focus its energy on containing the virus instead of containing the growing discontent.
“Let us value the life of each cultural worker affected by this crisis. What we need is immediate response toward the realization of our collective well being, right to health, and freedom to create and speak up.”
Instead of a moratorium on debt payments, the Duterte administration wants the country to sink deeper in debt. It is shamelessly taking advantage of the pandemic to push for the interest of his foreign masters.
Contrary to claims by Health Secretary Francisco Duque, the Philippines comes second to Malaysia in terms of the number of COVID cases in Southeast Asia. The country is the also the second highest in terms of COVID-19 deaths in the region.
All these actions aim to create chilling effect, to force us into silence amid the Duterte administration’s glaring failure to address the COVID-19 crisis.