By Jose Maria Sison, NDFP Chief Political Consultant
Since the public report on the outbreak of Covid-19 in China in early January this year, the Duterte regime has downplayed it for more than two months and allowed more than half a million of travellers from China, including thousands from Wuhan to enter the Philippines. Until now, travellers from China can freely enter the Philippines as tourists and POGO employees.
It is unbelievable that only a few scores have been afflicted by Covid-19 in the Philippines. The number is probably much higher. As admitted by Department of Health (DOH) officials, no systematic testing and counting have been made due to lack of personnel and resources. The virus has spread nationwide, as reports come from various provinces about fatalities due to the virus.
The Duterte regime is totally unprepared to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic and to safeguard the health of the Filipino people because it has cut the meager DOH budget by Php 16.6 billion for 2020 in order to favor the regime’s military overspending and other graft-laden programs and projects.
There is gross absence of public health personnel and resources over wide areas. This abets the further spread of the pandemic. There is no testing for Covid-19 infection at the community level. In more than 95 percent of communities at the barangay level, there are definitely no testing kits for use by health workers.
Provisions are absent for bed spaces in hospitals, clinics and improvised places for patients. There is a scarce supply of masks, thermal scanners, disinfectants, medicines and oxygen tanks. Those already infected with pneumonia due to Covid-19 are certain to die in most cases.
In his recent press conference concerning the pandemic, Duterte exposed his utter lack of serious concern for the health and livelihood of the people by concentrating on the deployment of armed 40,000 soldiers and police at so many check points in order to enforce lock-down on Metro Manila, which he euphemistically called community quarantine.
He failed to mention how a sufficient number of health workers are to be deployed at the community level in order to check symptoms, test and treat those infected with Covid-19. In fact, his sole or main consideration is to use his armed minions to intimidate the people, deprive them of medical attention, prevent people from earning their daily bread and hamper the production and distribution of basic goods.
The Duterte regime is weaponizing the Covid-19 pandemic to intimidate and coerce the people to submit to the scheme of fascist dictatorship and perpetuation of the Duterte dynasty beyond 2022 despite the tyrant’s deteriorating health, which is conspicuously indicated by his ashen face and incoherent speech.
Duterte is completely out of his mind by failing to see the far-reaching consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic in relation to the rapidly worsening crisis of the semicolonial and semifeudal ruling system due to his own anti-national, anti-democratic and anti-people policies and actions as well as due to the rapid deterioration of the world capitalist system.
The Covid-19 pandemic is threatening the public health and national economy and is exposing how foul and inimical the Duterte polices and actions have been to public interest. The broad masses of the people are outraged and desirous of ousting Duterte from power.
The Duterte regime has aggravated the conditions of underdevelopment, unemployment and mass poverty by militarizing and making the government fascist in the name of anticommunism and by having no sense of development but to obtain onerous foreign loans in order to maintain the infrastructure for exporting raw materials and importing manufactures.
But abroad, Covid-19 has also some major damaging effect on the world capitalist system in terms of disrupting production and causing a financial crash and is exposing fundamental weaknesses of the system like over-accumulation by one percent of the population, inflation of assets, the crisis of overproduction, the aggravation of the prolonged depression since 2008 and the onset of a deeper round of depression.
The Duterte regime is now confronted by a situation similar to that faced by the Marcos fascist dictatorship from 1979 to 1986. The bankruptcy of the ruling system and the tightening of international credit due to the worsening crisis of global capitalism will drastically reduce the ability of the regime to buoy itself up by obtaining foreign loans and enlarging the entire public debt.
The rapidly worsening economic, social and political crisis is further debilitating and discrediting the Duterte regime and is outraging the people and making them desire revolutionary change. As a result, the revolutionary movement of the people is growing stronger than ever before. The persistence of the tyrannical, traitorous, genocidal and corrupt regime can only serve to generate favorable conditions for the advance of the new democratic revolution.###