Incompetence led to the MM lockdown – Anakpawis

South Korean soldiers wearing protective gear walk on a street in front of Daegu's city hall after the rapid rise in confirmed cases of the coronavirus on March 2, 2020. Photo by Reuters.

Incompetence led to the MM lockdown – Anakpawis

South Korean soldiers wearing protective gear walk on a street in front of Daegu's city hall after the rapid rise in confirmed cases of the coronavirus on March 2, 2020. Photo by Reuters.
South Korean soldiers wearing protective gear walk on a street in front of Daegu’s city hall after the rapid rise in confirmed cases of the coronavirus on March 2, 2020. Photo by Reuters.

Manila, Philippines – A day after President Rodrigo Duterte announced the lockdown of Metro Manila, supposedly as response to the COVID-19 epidemic, the Anakpawis Party-list slammed it as a cover-up for incompetence and a move to normalize an authoritarian rule, where policies and people’s daily lives are dictated by the militarists in government.

“First and foremost, a lockdown on Metro Manila is obviously unsuitable as it is not self-sustaining or its basic needs are usually sourced outside, primarily part of the labor force, food supply, and manufactured goods are usually from industrial zones from Southern Tagalog and Central Luzon. The announced exemptions for workers and goods, and others totally expose its inapplicability,” Ariel “Ka Ayik” Casilao said in a press statement.

He claimed that the very weakness lies on the incompetence of the Department of Health and the Duterte government on implementing Republic Act 11332 or Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act, on top of the privatized framework on the health sector.

“The law mandates the DOH ‘to ensure the establishment and maintenance of relevant, efficient and effective disease surveillance and response system at the national and local levels’ and ‘to provide accurate and timely health information about notifiable diseases, and health-related events and conditions to citizens and health providers as an integral part of response to public health emergencies.’ But obviously the agency was laggard, in some cases, overran by news reports, and obviously failed to provide accurate and timely information,” he slammed.

He pointed out that the milestone failure of the government was not able to prevent the worsening of local transmission to community transmission, which was the trigger to the declaration of the Code Red Sub-Level 2. President Rodrigo Duterte’s Proclamation No. 922 was based on this declaration.

“The DOH never publicized any formal comprehensive report on the points of origin, the worsening of local to community transmission, and useful information on hotspot areas. Even Duterte’s proclamation never cited any factual basis, but a generalized inept statement. They are trying to hide this incompetence, to avoid accountability, and instead, pushed through with the metro’s lockdown , with all police and military posturing, the threat of arrests, and the latest the curfew hours,” he said.

Moreover, the former lawmaker lambasted the militarist response such as the deployment of armed police and military, who the National Capital Region Office (NCRPO) Chief Debold Sinas announced are geared to arrest any violators ot the lockdown.

“These planned checkpoints are reckless measures and social debacle waiting to happen. These would impact at least 500,000 to more than a million workers, and checking their identification at site is practically impossible. As by-product, this would also affect the supposedly regularity of supply of food and other basic goods,” he cited.

He also slammed that checkpoints are actually bottlenecks, thus, would create mass gatherings along highways and opposed the announcement that violators would be arrested.

“As the government attempts to normalize these militarist actions, or forcing people to accept these as part of civilian lives, it is creating another round of problems, on top of those it bragged to solve. With ill-preparation obvious, arrests are bluntly pronounced, as if it does not add to the possibility of the spread of the epidemic,” he elaborated.

Finally, he urged the people to oppose the militarist approach and demand the fundamental medical solution of strengthening the health sectors, by mass recruiting health workers and deploying them to communities, accompanied by free social services such as provision of face masks and other necessities, and testing for the COVID-19.

“The people should hold the Duterte government accountable for it’s budget cut on health, and demand the rechanneling of the presidential P4.5 billion confidential and intelligence funds to the COVID-19 response,” he ended. ###

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