The National Federation of Peasant Women (Amihan) said that the Duterte government’s militarist approach to the pandemic has been more evident as President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the state security forces to take charge of the second tranche distribution of the Social Amelioration Program (SAP).

“The Duterte government is taking advantage of the COVID-19 crisis to intensify militarization especially of farming communities,” Amihan national chairperson Zenaida Soriano said.

“Heavy presence of military forces in communities would only create fear especially in areas who have witnessed military atrocities. Hindi imposible na magamit ang SAP para idisqualify  ang mga miyembro ng progresibong organisasyon o pilitin ang mga magsasaka na “sumuko” kapalit ng ayuda. Marami nang karanasan ang mga magsasaka na pinapipili sila sa pagitan ng “suko o kulong”,” Soriano added.

Amihan noted that military operations continued even in the midst of the implementation of enhanced community quarantine in peasant communities resulting to various human rights abuses including red-tagging, harassment, illegal arrest and detention and extra-judicial killings.

“We are urging the public to oppose the Duterte government’s ‘dirty tricks’ amid the pandemic. We encourage everyone to remain vigilant and continue demanding for immediate delivery of aid and accountability over the government’s incompetent pandemic response,” Soriano ended. ###

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