Mong Palatino

Blogging about the Philippines and the Asia-Pacific since 2004


@mongster is a Manila-based activist, former Philippine legislator, and blogger/analyst of Asia-Pacific affairs.

Published by Bayan Metro Manila

As health workers press for a two-week timeout, we assert that it’s time to go for Duque, IATF generals, and even President Rodrigo Duterte.

We share the observation that the government’s COVID-19 response has been largely ineffective in containing the spread of the virus. We blame the inept leadership of Duque, the IATF dominated by retired generals, and Duterte.

Duterte’s militaristic approach has only led to economic woes, displacement, and human rights abuses.

Our alarming situation today is the result of the reluctance to conduct mass testing, the failure to enhance the country’s healthcare capacity, and the absence of a comprehensive medical solution to the pandemic. This reflects a leadership bereft of vision and empathy for ordinary citizens.

Duterte was quick to ask for emergency powers to realign public funds and secure loans but his government has been criminally negligent in extending assistance to the needy.

Nasaan ang ayuda? Nasaan ang plano?

His government imposed repressive lockdown measures without enforcing a holistic program in dealing with the harsh impact of the pandemic. Instead, he relied on the police and military to lead the government’s response instead of mobilizing health experts. He focused on silencing the media and passing the draconian Terror Law instead of prioritizing how his government will attend to the social welfare needs of the people.

We caution against the return to the Duterte-style ECQ which only worsened the suffering of many. We remember how hard lockdowns saw the heavy deployment of troops in communities but failed to reverse the surging number of COVID-19 cases.

We need a new approach guided by scientific thinking, transparent governance, and democratic principles. This paradigm is the exact opposite of what Duterte and his generals at the IATF are doing. At the minimum, the IATF needs to be revamped. Duterte’s handling of the crisis is also an ominous indicator of his capability to lead in the next two years.

In other words, if Duterte is unable to lead the country, and as he continues to spew out dangerous suggestions to the public (gasoline as disinfectant), it is only proper that we call for a new leadership. Duterte said in his recent Sona: ‘Buhay muna bago ang lahat’. We agree. To save Filipino lives and in order for us to survive the pandemic, it’s time for Duterte to go.

Leave a Reply