Duterte’s new martial law threat, a cover-up for failed COVID-19 response — CPP

Marje Pelayo   •   April 24, 2020   •   728

MANILA, Philippines – In response to President Rodrigo Duterte’s outburst over continued attacks against government forces, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) on Friday (April 24) accused the Chief Executive of just using the current coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic to carry out his agenda of imposing martial law.

On its website, the communist group stressed that the President is again blaming its armed wing – the New People’s Army (NPA) – ‘to cover up’ his administration’s failure in responding to the current health crisis particularly the conduct of COVID-19 mass testing.

“This is a classic deflection tactic to draw away the people’s attention from the government’s inept, incompassionate and irresponsible actions in the face of the pandemic,” the group said.

The CPP said imposing martial law will not end the pandemic but only cause ‘greater hardship’ to the Filipino people.

The group alleged that the extension of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) that has been expanded to cover Visayas and Mindanao is martial law.

“There is now creeping nationwide martial law and the entire country is now effectively under the highhanded and control of the military and police,” the CPP noted.

READ: Duterte threatens to declare martial law if NPA attacks continue

The leftist group defended the NPA over the recent encounters with government troops saying the group was only responding to the attacks of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) since it has further stepped up its counterinsurgency operations.

“The armed clashes between the NPA and the AFP in the past days are a result of the attacks of the AFP and active defense of the NPA,” the group said.

“In fact, the AFP never went on ceasefire, even when Duterte ordered a suspension of offensive operations last March 19 to April 15, deploying troops to more than 350 barangays and 120 towns to conduct counterinsurgency, mounting at least 24 offensives and six aerial bombardments,” it added.

The CPP accused that such intensified counterinsurgency efforts by the AFP are aimed at preventing the NPA from conducting its own public health campaign in response to the COVID-19 crisis in areas where the Duterte government ‘does not exist’ and their efforts are warmly received.

Nevertheless, the party said it stands by the ceasefire order of its Central Committee that has been extended to April 30 to prioritize its own public health campaign in their villages.

While so doing: “All units of the NPA must, however, remain vigilant and on high alert against attacks of the AFP and ready to engage in battle,” the group concluded.

Duterte satisfied with the dismantling of oligarchy in PH sans declaration of martial law

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 14, 2020

President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday (July 14) said he is satisfied with the dismantling of oligarchy in the country without having to declare martial law.

In his speech during his visit to Jolo, Sulu, Duterte said his campaign against the oligarchy will be more bloody as his term ends in two years.

“I am very happy. Alam mo bakit? Sabi ko, ‘Without declaring martial law, I dismantled the oligarchy that controlled the economy of the Filipino people,'” he said.

Senator Kiko Pangilinan criticized Duterte’s statement, saying the supposed oligarchy problem was just made up to distract the public from the government’s poor response against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis.

“Inimbento lang ang problema na oligarchs para linlangin ang taumbayan dahil sa totoo lang wala silang maipakitang ni katiting na magandang resulta sa pagsugpo sa lalo pang kumakalat na COVID, sa gutom at sa kawalan ng trabaho ng milyon-milyon nating mga kababayan, he said in a statement.

Malacañang on the other hand clarified that Duterte was not referring to the owner of ABS-CBN Corporation but those who have questionable contracts with the government and are not paying their dues.

“He must be referring to oligarchs which he named and actually threatened to destroy but he reconsidered,” according to Roque.

Roque also said said the President has reconsidered his stance against companies including the Manila Water and Maynilad, owned by the Ayala Corporation, and MVP Group. Both companies did their part in the country’s fight against the COVID-19.

Meanwhile, the Palace official added that business tycoon, Lucio Tan has already paid his dues

“Unang-una Lucio Tan, nagbayad ng pagkakautang sa airport. Pangalawa, MVP at Ayala Group po dahil sa matindi nilang pagtulong sa panahon ng COVID,” said Roque. AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Gov’t still has enough budget for COVID-19 response — DBM

Marje Pelayo   •   July 8, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The national government has shed a total amount of P374.89 billion on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, according President Rodrigo Duterte during the recent pre-SONA forum.

The largest chunk, according to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), was spent on programs designed to strengthen the country’s health sector and relief assistance to those who were affected by the lockdowns.

Still, the DBM maintained that the government has enough budget to sustain its COVID-19 response. 

“Mayroon pong sapat na pondo ang ating pamahalaan upang tugunan at labanan ang patuloy na pananalasa ng COVID-19 pandemic po sa ating bansa (Our government has enough budget to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country),” assured DBM Secretary Wendell Avisado.

Meanwhile, the government has raised around P5.28 billion US dollars budgetary financing support from development partners apart from the P126.36 million U.S dollars from ongoing financing for COVID-19 response projects.  

The Duterte Cabinet stressed the need to open the economy in Metro Manila and the CALABARZON region in order for the country’s overall economy to gradually recover considering that 67 percent of the country’s economy depends on these two regions. 

However, they emphasized the public’s important role in economic recovery, thus strict compliance with the government’s minimum health standards to curb the spread of COVID-19 is critical. 

“It is vital that the economies of these regions reopen. The reality is, this virus won’t go away until a vaccine is found. In the meantime, we have to go back to work, while staying safe,” noted Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez. 

Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, meanwhile, urged the public to be vigilant and responsible to avoid being infected with the deadly virus. 

“Each and every Filipino needs to be very vigilant. We should all continue observing social distancing, and other public health measures such as wearing masks, and frequent washing of hands to protect each other’s health and well-being,” he said. 

“We must act responsibly,” he concluded. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Philippine Army sends medical team to virus-stricken Cebu City

Marje Pelayo   •   June 29, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Army on Sunday (June 28) deployed a medical team to coronavirus disease (COVID-19) hot spot Cebu City.

The team, composed of two doctors, two nurses, and two medical aides, will help local healthcare workers in addressing the COVID-19 cases in the city.

Prior to their flight on Sunday morning, the team underwent precautionary swab testing and were given flu vaccination to ensure that they are fit to do the job.

The team is among the  32 military medical teams organized by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in line with the national government’s COVID-19 response. 

Department of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Roy Cimatu, who oversees the COVID-19 efforts in Cebu City, and Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., National Task Force- COVID-19 Chief Implementer; joined AFP Vice Chief of Staff Vice Admiral Gaudencio Collado Jr. during the send-off ceremony at the Villamor Air Base in Pasay City.

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