Statement of the ILPS Philippines Chairperson Bong Labog
The International League of Peoples’ Struggle-Philippines (ILPS-Philippines) condemns the arrest of 20 Sitio San Roque residents clamoring for food and financial assistance during the extreme enhanced community quarantine in Quezon City. The spontaneous protest staged by members of the San Roque community is a manifestation of the government’s failure to address the Filipino masses’ outcry for food and financial security during the implementation of the community quarantine. Members of Sitio San Roque were registering legitimate cries for bread on the table which was countered with high-handed goon-like attacks by the Quezon City Police Department (QCPD).
ILPS-Philippines asserts that militarization should not be the answer to the poor’s cry for help. The established Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) is currently headed by retired generals instead of medical professionals. After granting himself emergency powers and conducting several press conferences, President Rodrigo Duterte still has not given a definite plan of action against the worsening pandemic. The promised funds for economic assistance worth P200 billion have not trickled down to the poorest communities such as San Roque.
The Duterte regime continues to brandish its reactionary colors through its double standards against the poor. On an impromptu address to the nation on April 1, President Duterte has issued statements ordering the state’s armed forces to shoot quarantine violators while blatantly accusing the urban poor organization Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay) of instigating the San Roque protest. In roughly two weeks of the community quarantine, 17,039 have been arrested for defying quarantine protocol while one of Duterte’s closest allies, Senator Koko Pimentel, who has blatantly disregarded quarantine protocol and has been called out by Makati Medical Center, remains at large. On the other hand, only 3,303 individuals have been tested for COVID-19.
The Filipinos are beginning to recognize that no help will come from an inutile government which defends the interests of bureaucrat capitalists, comprador-bourgeoisie and big landlords. Spur-of-the-moment demonstrations such as the one in San Roque will continue to spring as long as the Filipino people are starving and lacking in basic social services during the lockdown.
ILPS-Philippines demands that civil and basic human rights be upheld during the community quarantine and, we echo the demands of the Filipino people — free mass testing and treatment of those afflicted with COVID-19, economic safety nets such as paid quarantine leaves, provision of personal protective equipment and food supplies ought to be the priority of the government over mass arrests. Free Mass Testing Now! No to mass arrests!