PNP deployment vs. solidarity, relief actions for displaced jeepneys, confirms Duterte’s anti-people policy – Anakpawis
Manila, Philippines – As leaders and members of Anakpawis Party-list held its relief and solidarity mission to displaced jeepney drivers in an undisclosed area in Quezon City, the group slammed the deployment of elements of the Philippine National Police (PNP) at around UP Diliman campus and branded it as testament of President Rodrigo Duterte’s anti-people and anti-poor policy. The said mission was part of the metrowide-coordinated action for “Balik-Pasada” and “No To Jeepney Phaseout” led by Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan).
“This is an added confirmation that the Duterte regime is anti-driver, anti-worker and anti-poor. On top of the arrest of Piston 6 early this month, these deployments of police forces meant to harass and undermine the relief missions, are merciless and cold-blooded. This reminds us that Duterte condemned the poor drivers in October 2017 with his infamous quote ‘Mahirap kayo? Putang ina, magtiis kayo sa hirap at gutom, wala akong pakialam!’” Ariel “Ka Ayik” Casilao, Anakpawis Party-list former representative said in a press statement.
He likened the police deployment to the arrest of relief mission volunteers of Tulong Anakpawis and Oplan Sagip Kanayunan last April, including the former lawmaker.
“The call ‘Tulong Hindi Kulong!’ is so accurate, as the Duterte armed forces continue to oppress poor sectors who are in dire need under this pandemic and even those who are helping. We assert that helping the poor is not a crime, activism is not a crime, we should all oppose the government’s authoritarian measures, especially the terror bill,” he cited.
He stressed that the continued banning of jeepney operations is a de facto phaseout to facilitate the privatization or corporatization of the mass transport sector. The modern PUVs are at P2.4 million from its previous P1.6 million price tag with the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) announced that more than 100 routes would be opened, but not for the 55,000 jeepneys in Metro Manila. A measly 300 units of modern PUVs were deployed early this week that led to mass commuter woes.
“We also urge the middle-class sectors as they are indirect victims of this jeepney phaseout. Skilled but poor workers are unable to go to their workplaces because of the jeepney ban. Banning jeepneys are synonymous to hampering normalcy in production and economy. Moreover, without it, sales are doomed as the pool of customers is shrunk down due to the jeepney ban. This is detrimental not just to the poor drivers, this would all harm us,” he urged.
Finally, he condemned the Duterte regime for its clear failure of addressing the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The senseless lockdown of economy and society via the militarist approach should be credited to Duterte. Unemployment is at 17.7%, at least 7 millions of workers were displaced, many businesses closed down and left indebted, the GDP contracted, the losses for this year is estimated at P2.2 trillion. All of these sacrifices, for grossly nothing, as the pandemic continues to spread in the country. This is totally condemnable, and the Filipino people should hold the regime seriously accountable,” he ended. ###