The National Federation of Peasant Women (Amihan) said that the Duterte government’s ‘Martial Law-like’ lockdown will only lead to human rights violations against the poor and marginalized sectors who are suffering the most from the impact of the enhanced community quarantine.

“What this government fails to understand is that millions of Filipinos are not only battling the virus but also hunger. They are forced to go out of their homes to ensure their families’ survival. Militarist solutions will never be an answer to the pandemic,” Amihan national chairperson Zenaida Soriano said.

“It is alarming that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) have already started its preparations for the ‘strict implementation of ECQ’ days after President Duterte’s Martial Law threats,” Soriano added.

She said, “Farmers as well as activists and advocates even those engaged in relief and humanitarian efforts could be targets of harassment, especially after Sagip Kanayunan and Tulong Anakpawis relief volunteers were arbitrarily arrested and detained yesterday while on their way to Norzagaray, Bulacan for a relief mission.”

“Farmers, farmer organizations and farming communities have long been targets of fascist attacks by the Duterte government through the AFP, PNP and paramilitary forces. They will only take advantage of the situation to continue with their mercenary activities against human rights defenders and government critics,” Soriano added.

“As the Duterte government continues to address COVID-19 through militarist approach and fails to deliver immediate health and socioeconomic measures, more and more families will be pushed into deeper poverty and hunger and demands for government assistance and accountability will persist,” Soriano ended. ###

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