The National Federation of Peasant Women (Amihan) said on a statement today that the Duterte government’s proposal to declare a “national state of emergency” seeking “emergency powers” for President Rodrigo Duterte to combat COVID-19 is taking advantage of the fear and panic created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“He has more than enough powers and authority to implement necessary actions to contain the virus but he chose to implement militarist rather than medical and socio-economic measures to address the problem. He even left the responsibility to the local government units and the private sector,” Amihan national chairperson Zenaida Soriano.
“The health crisis has revealed his incompetency and insensitivity to the poor and marginalized making him and his government more and more isolated to the Filipino people who are looking for a capable leadership to lead the fight against COVID-19. Seeking emergency powers at this time show that the Duterte government is afraid of taking responsibility for his failure,” Soriano added.
“Additional authority for the president will only lead to militarist tactics and abuse of authority which will only aggravate the suffering of millions of Filipinos,” she said.
The group reiterated that the government should immediately implement health and economic measures to ensure the protection of millions of Filipinos including free mass testing, distribution of vitamins, hygiene and protective kits, mass disinfection and sanitation as well as information drives in communities; employ additional doctors, nurses and other health workers and ensure their welfare and protection; increase allocation for health budget to guarantee free medical services for the poor and most vulnerable communities; utilize Php12 billion President’s Contingency Fund, the Php16 billion Calamity Fund, and the Php6.8 billion Quick Response Fund of national agencies COVID-19 prevention; ensure accessibility and affordability of basic commodities and services; provide cash and food subsidy for affected workers, employees and the underemployed. ###