The Filipino people are disgusted beyond words over the sight of the head of the NCR police force blowing candles and downing cans of beer with scores of other police officers last May 8. The “extraordinary birthday celebration” was an insult on the Filipino people who have been suffering under the now two-month lockdown of the Duterte regime. The birthday party-goers are the same police officers who enforce the tyrant’s lockdown with extreme prejudice and cruelty against the downtrodden masses, as well as the middle classes. It is the sight of these despicable manifestations of the ruling elite’s contempt for the masses that is driving the Filipino people to question the moral and political ascendancy of the Duterte government.
The people, especially the youth, are being pushed to rebel. Everyday, they question and condemn in social media the failures, corruption, incompetence and abuses of the Duterte regime under the lockdown. The denunciations and insults they have heaped against Duterte and his officials reflect the widespread sentiments of the people. People have turned to protestations as their only recourse in the face of widespread oppression and hardships, corruption and failures in the government’s pandemic response. In turn, Duterte and his fascist minions have resorted to hunting down and arresting those who have voiced out their disgust in a desperate attempt to terrorize and silence everyone.
The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed the deep socio-economic and power divide in the country. While the people go hungry and suffer from loss of income and rising prices, the big bourgeois compradors (otherwise known as the oligarchs or Dutertegarchs) continue to rake in profits and tax breaks from quarantine and “megaswabbing” infrastructure projects and “donations.” Congress is now busy preparing to give them more incentives and tax cuts. In partnership with the bureaucrat capitalists who take cuts in public contracts, overpriced government purchases and other corruption schemes, they are having a blast under Covid-19.
The Filipino people have already sacrificed a lot after two months of “staying at home.” But the Duterte government failed to perform its duty to carry out mass testing, tracing and isolation of Covid-19 infections. Because of this failure, the country continues to lag behind in efforts to manage the pandemic. The Duterte government has extended the GCQ and ECQ because it is still blind as to the extent of the spread of the Covid-19, and thus incapable of isolating and treating those infected.
Especially in these times of pandemic, the people deserve a better president than Duterte, one who knows to prioritize health programs, more than police and military measures and counterinsurgency; and one who is bold to tear the bureaucratic red tape to provide for the people in times of urgent need; one who is not driven by dictatorial ambitions and places the interests of the people above his own.
Under an incompetent, corrupt and anti-people regime, the Filipino people are bound to suffer even more from the pandemic–in terms of their state of health as well as in terms of their economic well-being and the state of their democratic rights. Indeed, it is right, just and necessary for the Filipino people to rebel so that they can get rid of the virus in Malacañang and enable the country to unite and effectively mobilize the people and its resources to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.