Under Duterte’s police-military state, Covid-19 infections set to exceed 75,000
Duterte’s order the other day for police to arrest without qualms people without face masks to subject them to shame is typical of his police-military approach that has not only proved a big failure in stemming the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic but has also resulted in widespread military and police abuses of the people’s civil rights.
Those not wearing face masks, even if they are alone in their cars, walking alone in the streets or watering their plants in their yards, are now considered culprits. Over the past days, people are being rounded up by the hundreds, adding to the tens of thousands who have been apprehended, fined and detained since March.
The regime and its incompetent officials, led by former military generals, continue to insist that the spread of the Covid-19 virus is a result of the people’s lack of discipline. They are obscuring the fact Duterte has no public health and medical strategy to manage the pandemic.
Having no clear health strategy in place, Covid-19 infections in the country have shot up over the past weeks ever since business and factory operations were allowed to resume in June. Hospital facilities in Metro Manila assigned for Covid-19 cases are already being overwhelmed. Medical facilities in the regions and provinces are grossly lacking or completely absent.
The number of cases at the start of July is set to more than double before the end of the month. It is now set to exceed 75,000. Without a massive public health intervention to conduct mass free testing, upgrade government laboratories and build medical facilities, the number of infections will continue to rise more sharply and may get completely out of control.
It is evident that the Duterte regime is incapable of leading the country’s efforts to surmount the pandemic because it continues to be obsessed with accumulating power, imposing repressive measures to control the population and silencing those who have stood up to his corruption, incompetence and terrorism.
The Filipino people are seething with unrest. They have suffered grave hardships and hunger under the pandemic. They are determined to take action against the Duterte regime and make it account for the devastation of the economy, for destroying their jobs, taking away their livelihood and for making them ever more vulnerable to the pandemic.