REPASO 2018: Dengvaxia scare, communist terrorism and the Martial Law

Marje Pelayo   •   January 1, 2019   •   2256

 

The trauma of the controversial Dengvaxia vaccine has caused the government the public’s trust to its other vaccination programs.

Measles cases in the country soared by more than 300% last year, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

This was because of the public’s fear of having the same fate as the alleged Dengvaxia vaccinees whose death remain uncertain to this day, according to Health Secretary Francisco Duque III.

“There is a significant drop in the confidence of our people in the immunization program of the DOH from 92% to measly 33%. Ang laki ng bagsak talaga,” Duque said.

It was a “lesson learned the hard way”, the DOH said, referring to the impact of the Dengvaxia controversy.

That’s why the agency wants to change how the public views of the agency.

 

A hearing on the controversial dengue vaccine

“Kung mag-i-introduce ka ng new health program, mag-i-introduce ka ng bagong bakuna,  bagong intervenyion kailangan talaga pag- aralan mo. Kailangan kompleto talaga ang iyong ebidensya. Kailangan alam mo ang magiging resulta. You have to communicate it properly doon sa mga recipients, kailangan naitindinhan din ng recipients kung ano iyong tinatanggap nila,” explained Health Spokesperson Undersecretary Eric Domingo.

But aside from the health concerns, the government also faced challenges in security this year.

President Rodrigo Duterte once again requested Congress to extend the declaration of Martial Law in the province of Mindanao for another year or until December 31, 2019.

IMAGE_UNTV_NEWS_110117_Marawi City

FILE PHOTO: Marawi City ruins (UNTV News)

According to Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, the extension is needed as terrorist groups like Abu Sayyaf, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighter (BIFF), Daulah Islamiya and other terrorist groups sowing fear in the region.

“We cannot turn a blind eye to the reality that Mindanao is still in the midst of rebellion,” Medialdea said.

Several lawmakers opposed the proposal but later on, martial law was extended for the third time in Mindanao since it was declared on May 2017 when the Maute terror group conquered Marawi City.

The communist New People’s Army (NPA) also remains a challenge to the Philippine government.

 

FILE PHOTO: New People’s Army in formation

The military revealed an alleged ‘Red October’ plot, an oust-Duterte movement allegedly formed by the communist rebels backed by opposition groups.The two groups denied the allegations but according to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), they have recovered documents in some encounters with NPA proving that they were plotting a destabilization against the government.

Meanwhile, the government did not declare a ceasefire this year even after the communist group announced their declaration of a unilateral ceasefire.

According to the Department of National Defense (DND) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) they did not recommend to reciprocate the communists’ ceasefire declaration because leftists were not sincere of their intention and they would just use the ceasefire to strengthen their arms.

Meanwhile, a resolution was submitted to Congress calling the President to revive the peace negotiations with the Reds.

But the President remained cold towards the proposed resumption of peace talks.

Instead, he said he preferred to create a hit squad to match the NPA’s sparrow unit.

“So mag-create ako ng sparrow (unit), Duterte death squad against the sparrow,” the President said.

In December, the President issued Executive Order 70 which created a National Task Force tasked to eliminate the rebel group.

This, despite the continuous surrender of NPA members in different parts of the country through the efforts of military on localized peace talks. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

Duterte’s P2-M bounty vs. NPA commanders ‘will result in the murder of many innocent people’ — Sison

Marje Pelayo   •   May 13, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria ‘Joma’ Sison warned on Tuesday (May 12) that President Rodrigo Duterte’s offer of P2 million bounty for the capture of New People’s Army (NPA) commanders will only lead to further loss of ‘innocent civilians.’

“With this kind of offer, we can expect his armed minions to manufacture more NPA commanders so that they will receive the cash reward as they have from previous fake surrenders and fake encounters,” Sison said in a post on Facebook.

“We can expect more murders being committed by military and police officers against innocent civilians who are misrepresented as NPA commanders,” he added.

President Duterte in a briefing announced his offer to anyone who would be lead the authorities to the capture of an NPA leader or commander following another series of attacks against government troops in humanitarian missions.

“Like his previous order to shoot dead any violator of the lockdown, his order to kill NPA commanders will result in the murder of many innocent people,” Sison later added.

The communist leader also noted that the President allegedly “does not care that he will go down in history as a butcher of the Filipino people.”

Sison reiterated that President Duterte is just using the NPA to cover up his administration’s ‘gross incompetence and failure’ in the fight against coronavirus disease (COVID-19) citing the lack of mass testing and contact-tracing and the increasing number of health workers dying of the virus due to lack of personal protective gear.

READ: Duterte offers P2-M bounty for the capture of NPA commanders

“Duterte has made a rambling and inane multi-media broadcast every week during the lockdown but he has not given any rational plan for the use of 275 billion pesos. And there has been no accounting of the disbursement of these funds,” he said.

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

Marje Pelayo   •   April 24, 2020

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.

PH military confirms preparations for possible enforcement of ‘martial law-like’ quarantine

Robie de Guzman   •   April 20, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has confirmed a Philippine Air Force (PAF) document circulating online advising its personnel to prepare for the possible implementation of ‘martial law-like’ quarantine measures as earlier warned by President Rodrigo Duterte.

The memorandum dated April 17 directed unit commanders to prepare for strict implementation of a possible extensive enhanced community quarantine.

The memo further stated that the AFP will be the over all in-charge of roads and highways.

It also stated the need to request for a briefing from the Philippine National Police (PNP) for the legal and safety measures in dealing and engaging with pedestrians and motorists.

The memo leaked online a day after the president threatened to impose a ‘martial law-like’ crackdown following reports of increased public violation of quarantine protocols.

In a statement on Sunday, PAF spokesperson Aristides Galang Jr. said the internal memo was merely a preparatory move for the troops as normally done by the organization.

“The PAF is just anticipating of any scenarios in case the President, as Commander in Chief of the AFP, would decide to implement his statements lately to the public as earlier stated and prepare our troops in advance as normally done by the military organization in the past,” he said.

AFP spokesman Brigadier General Edgard Arevalo also defended the order, saying this was just issued for the purpose of providing advance information to guide its personnel.

Arevalo assured that there is no reason to be alarmed over the order as it is just a “normal reaction” of the AFP to prepare and deploy when it becomes necessary.

“What we should all be alarmed about instead is the fact that a lot of people are blatantly violating the law and disobeying the rules and health protocols which MUST be strictly enforced —otherwise people die,” he said in a statement.

“Law-abiding citizens and those who follow the rules should not worry. There is no reason to be alarmed,” he added.

Based on the report from the PNP, around 130,177 quarantine violators have been apprehended from March 17 to April 18. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Lea Ylagan)

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