Mong Palatino

blogging about the philippine left and southeast asian politics since 2004


@mongster is a manila-based activist, former philippine legislator, and blogger/analyst of asia-pacific affairs.

Published by Bayan Metro Manila

Contrary to the self-serving government spin which blames citizens for the continued spread of COVID-19 infections, the notorious cabal of pasaways are to be found in Malacanang Palace. They are responsible for the bungled response to the public health crisis.

Rodrigo Duterte

Leading the gang is Rodrigo Duterte, the chief executive daysleeper who never fails to be uninspiring in his televised speeches. His treasonous loyalty to Xi Jinping was behind his decision to reject an early proposal to impose a travel ban on China. He repeatedly belittled the coronavirus threat and used braggadocio to make unscientific pronouncements like the infamous horse antibodies. He is incoherent, incompetent, and intolerant of dissent. He knows no other approach other than the repressive Tokhang model in dealing with the crisis. He equates authoritarianism with good governance. His narrow mindset and irrational outbursts inform his leadership which is reflected in the decisions of his subordinates.

Francisco Duque

Next to Duterte, Health Secretary Francisco Duque deserves top mention for his ineffective leadership. The 14 senators were correct to point out that Duque’s actions and inactions “show lack of competence, efficiency, and foresight bordering on negligence in handling the health crisis.”

Duterte’s Generals

Enforcing Duterte’s ill-conceived policies are the retired and active generals whose lack of coordination trigger public panic and confusion among civil servants. On the other hand, they are consistent in weaponizing the bureaucracy to silence the opposition. They are responsible for the militarist lockdown restrictions guided by a dogmatic and fascist thinking that instilling fear is effective in controlling the people and containing the virus.

Koko Pimentel and VIP quarantine violators

We acknowledge that there are many citizens who are leaving their homes in violation of quarantine protocols. But we believe most of these cases involve breadwinners who are in search of food, aid, and livelihood for their families. They are not like politicians like Senator Koko Pimentel who already tested positive for COVID-19 but deliberately violated the rules and endangered the lives of others. They are different from Duterte’s allies who flaunted their privilege by availing of COVID-19 testing while ordinary citizens were desperately clamoring for this basic medical measure.

Teddy Boy Locsin, Harry Roque, Salvador Panelo and PCOO ‘fake news’ peddlers

Instead of correcting false content, the government chose to criminalize free speech. Instead of tolerating criticism, authorities used the BAHO Law to harass critics. Yet the real ‘fake news’ peddlers who did the most damage in distorting information and manipulation public opinion are Duterte allies like Locsin and Rep. Salceda. The latter even confessed he got a fake video from a group of ‘reputable businessmen’. Meanwhile, the government’s PCOO has been consistent in promoting ‘fake news’ information against activists. As propaganda mouthpieces of Duterte, his spokespersons should be made accountable for using lies and doublespeak to cover the government’s shortcomings.

Slow and inept government officials

We understand that LGU officials were made to carry a heavy burden because of the incompetence of the national government. But we cannot ignore that some LGUs have been slow, indifferent, and vindictive in their COVID-19 response. The partisan distribution of relief in some areas has exacerbated the suffering of the local population. The bureaucratic gridlock at DOLE, DSWD and other agencies have led to delays in rolling out social protection measures. If assistance were regularly and adequately delivered, many residents won’t find it necessary to go out of their shelters to search for help.

Cronies and mining firms

While many have lost jobs and their livelihoods destroyed, some cronies and favored contractors have exploited the crisis to hoard money and influence. Also in this category are mining firms which mobilized government resources to bulldoze their way in mining areas amid the lockdown and community resistance. Pasaway na, gahaman pa.
Malacanang should stop its hypocritical stance that citizens who lack discipline are causing the infections to rise. Instead of accusing the public, it should focus on implementing a comprehensive health and social protection package to fight COVID-19.

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