Duterte is mortally afraid of the people
Duterte last night threatened to order the shooting of people in the streets demanding relief amid the military lockdown. He resorted to blaming the Left for the growing restiveness in a vain attempt to cover up his government’s failure to address the urgent public health and socio-economic crisis.
By making repeated threats to kill the hungry and desperate, has once again exposed himself as incapable of basic compassion expected of a human being. Even at these times of humanitarian crisis, he has resorted to the use of military and police power as his key solution.
He is fooling the people by claiming that he cannot perform his duties if there is chaos in the streets. This is a desperate attempt to free himself of blame. He is obscuring the fact that there is growing unrest among the people because, in the first place, they have not received the aid he promised. There would be no chaos if only his government performs its expected duties of ensuring the people’s welfare. The meager funds and some relief packs they have received from the local government and private organizations are not enough.
More than one week after his rubber stamp congress granted him emergency powers, people are voicing out their indignation. There are mounting criticism over red tape and corruption. Why have they not yet received anything out of the P275-billion fund? They want to know what is taking him too long. At the same time, they demand to know when the medical kits will be available for mass testing.
Duterte has also heaped blame on local government officials, who for three weeks now have been desperately mobilizing scant resources to address the needs of their constituency without national government support. Last night, Duterte contemptuously denounced them as “pulitikos.” He shoved the LGUs aside and declared his “government” will do all the distribution by itself. Not only is he creating a logistics nightmare for the DSWD workers. He is also creating conditions for large-scale corruption.
Duterte is revealing his incompetence in handling the Covid-19 pandemic in the country, without resorting to the use of barefaced military and police power. In the guise of suppressing “fake news,” he has ordered the arrest of prosecution of people who are questioning the government’s response to the crisis. Tens of thousands have been arrested for violations of his lockdown.
Yesterday’s spontaneous mass action of Sitio San Roque residents demanding government aid was fully a justified act as they have been put in desperate straits by Duterte’s military lockdown and failure to provide for the social and economic needs of the people. More and more communities of poor people neglected by his government are bound to rise up in spontaneous protests in the following days and weeks across Metro Manila and the rest of the country.
On the other hand, the government’s response of arresting and detaining the people, is a patent act of military and police repression of an authoritarian regime. By arresting and threatening to kill the hungry and desperate, Duterte is revealing himself mortally afraid of the people.
His threats, however, are only provoking the people to raise their voices more. Broad sections of society—from doctors to movie and television personalities, students, lawyers and students—are being roused by Duterte’s callousness and his inept government.
The people’s restiveness over the public health emergency and the desperate socio-economic conditions resulting from the military lockdown is quickly becoming political restiveness. Duterte himself is inciting the people to put up a challenge.
Duterte has painted himself into a corner. He has become extremely isolated from the people. There is a growing consensus among the people that Duterte is incapable of handling the emergency situation and proving himself unworthy of all his powers.
There is a groundswell of clamor for Duterte’s ouster. People are using social media and all available means to express their disgust. They are displaying courage in the face of threats of being arrested by Duterte’s police and military. Their collective outrage is bound to come together in one form or another. Not even the quarantine and physical distancing measures can stop the brewing political showdown.