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

While COVID-19 cases are surging, authorities are brutally demolishing houses in urban poor communities.

As residents adopt safety measures during the pandemic, the DILG treacherously lifted the ban on demolitions which quickly led to the destruction of houses in some barangays in Quezon City and heightened the tension in some areas in Manila and Taguig where demolition threats have been made.

It is inhumane to enforce demolition orders at a time when we are facing a pandemic. The poor lost jobs, livelihood, and are barely surviving while desperately in need of health care and other social services yet authorities are callously allowing the demolition to proceed.

Instead of displacing the poor from their homes, the government should provide relief and other stimulus packages. At the minimum, there should be a moratorium in demolitions while we are reeling from a public health crisis.

The government also demonstrated its bias against the poor as it continues to implement ‘solutions’ intended to curb the spread of the coronavirus but are detrimental to the welfare of the working poor.
Stakeholders should have been consulted about the impact of the uniform night curfew on workers and small businesses in the informal economy.

We deplore the continuing excessive deployment of police in barangays to enforce health protocols. Hard lockdown measures are counter-productive especially if medical solutions are not applied such as systematic mass testing, tracing, and treatment.

The Duterte government’s militarized approach in dealing with the pandemic has proven to be ineffective. It continues to rely on this model because of its criminal negligence in procuring and rolling out enough vaccines for the local population.

Instead of promoting accountability, authorities are spinning the narrative that the poor are pasaway and should be blamed for the COVID-19 surge. Massive arrests targeting ordinary citizens are being carried out. In some communities, restrictions hamper the movement of residents and deprive them of livelihood opportunities. The absurd ‘wall’ erected by Bucor in Muntinlupa exemplifies the repressive and anti-poor policies of the government.

We reiterate our urgent demand to prioritize a science-based, medical approach in addressing the pandemic surge. Government’s response should be transparent, inclusive, and not punitive.
We cannot survive the pandemic as long as the Duterte government is in power. We deserve better than this murderous regime whose only solution is to implement unlimited lockdown measures and silence those who are criticizing the abuses of those in power.

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