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Social Media Response to Duterte’s Attempt to Seek National Emergency Powers

Context:

Today (6PM Pacific, 8PM Central, 9PM Eastern), Philippine President Duterte will call on a special session of the Congress to grant him special national emergency powers that are far-reaching and overkill.  It is an urgent time to expose Duterte’s fascist power-grab and amplify the health-based demands of the people for free mass testing, healthcare, and economic relief. There is no need to abuse emergency powers to meet these demands. 

When does the social media action start?

Today @ 6PM Pacific, 8PM Central, 9PM Eastern

Take Action Today:

  • Use the official hashtags:  #ResignDuterte #NoToEmergencyPowers #OustDuterte 
  • Project our demands:
  1. NO TO THE GRANTING OF EMERGENCY POWERS to the Duterte government.
  2. END MILITARIZATION of Manila and Luzon
  3. GUARANTEE FREE MASS TESTING for all
  4. IMMEDIATE REALLOCATE FUNDING for food assistance, healthcare services, staffing, and equipment for all healthcare facilities in the Philippines
  5. STOP THE ONGOING STATE REPRESSION, DISPLACEMENT, AND EXTRAJUDICIAL KILLINGS of the rural and urban poor, advocates for the poor, and critics of Duterte

FOLDER:  FOR IMAGES TO POST ON SOCIAL MEDIA

      • 1. Adequate budget for free testing, treatment and containment of COVID-19 as well as rehabilitation of health services;
      • 2. Free and systematic mass testing for COVID-19, prioritizing PUIs, PUMs, and those in high infection areas;
      • 3. Additional equipment, supplies and personnel for hospitals’
      • 4. Community-based sanitation and quarantine centers;
      • 5. Support and protection for frontline health personnel;
      • 6. Improved systems to address COVID-19 down to the community level.
      • Socio-economic measures:
      • 7. Prohibit layoffs and provide assisstance to affected workers;
      • 8. Emergency relief packs and other assistance to the poor;
      • 9. Moratorium on payments and penalties for basic utilities and services, including rent and loans;
      • 10. Price controls and adequate supply of basic goods and services;
      • 11. Adequate transportation for those who need it;
      • 12. Prohibit demolition of informal settlers and provide shelter to the homeless

Sources:

 

Duterte’s COVID-19 Lockdown is a Military Crackdown Filipinos Demand Health Solutions, Not Militarization!

 

The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (aka Covid-19) has become a pandemic affecting over 193,000 people across the world, and in the Philippines there have been at least 187 cases of infection and 14 deaths.  As of this week, reports show the Philippines has a mortality rate of nearly 9%, higher than China, Italy, Iran, and the world average.  Duterte’s response is to enforce a so-called “community quarantine,” which is in essence a military lockdown. Instead of deploying doctors, nurses, and other health workers to ensure adequate care, Duterte has unleashed the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP) to implement military rule in Metro Manila and the whole of Luzon. This is not the solution to the health crisis enveloping the Philippines. BAYAN USA supports the demands from everyday Filipino people to uphold basic democratic rights and for a sustainable livelihood, quality jobs, healthcare, paid sick days, and social services!

 

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends a doctor-to-patient ratio of 1 doctor per 1,000 people, while the Philippines has a ratio of 1 doctor per 33,000.  According to the Coalition for People’s Right to Health (CPRH), six out of every 10 Filipinos die without being given medical attention. The Philippine government’s more than four decades of neoliberal policies have paved the way for the rising costs and privatization of healthcare, water, education, and housing. These anti-people policies have led to the inadequate response to the most immediate needs of the people for proper affordable healthcare. 

 

In Metro Manila, 41% of families or 8.2 million people consider themselves poor.  Urban poor communities are even more vulnerable to infection without access to nutritious food, clean water, soap, vitamins, stable housing, accurate up-to-date information, and medical care. The calls for self-quarantine and social distancing are out of reach for the majority of the poor living in the most cramped conditions without regular income and decent housing.  For workers, contractualization, or temporary work jobs, have become the norm as they continue to fight for a living wage, job security, paid sick days, and a safe environment. However, these demands fall on deaf ears as “No work, No Pay” schemes are being exploited by employers to cut hours and lay off workers.   

 

“Duterte’s militaristic response looks like martial law under the cover of the quarantine label. He has deployed the AFP and PNP to enforce curfews, unnecessary checkpoints, suspension of travel, and banning of mass gatherings, and has threatened to arrest and detain anyone who resists. We condemn the Duterte regime’s opportunistic employment of martial law tactics at a time when urgent public health concerns must be prioritized. rather than wasting public funds for the suppression of people’s civil liberties and freedom,” said Rhonda Ramiro, Chairperson of BAYAN USA.

 

The P4.5 billion allocated for Duterte’s Intelligence and Confidential Funds must be redirected to provide genuine relief to meet public health needs in the form of guaranteeing free quality healthcare services to support sanitation, prevention, testing, monitoring, and treatment.  Duterte must be held accountable for addressing this health crisis with an immediate health solution, not militarization. The Duterte regime cut the public health budget by Php 16 billion, which could have helped to ensure proper hospitals, quarantine facilities, staff, and life-saving equipment.  

 

As of now in the United States, there have been 3,536 cases confirmed and 58 deaths. While Trump has declared a national emergency, it has only exposed the ruling class as protectorates of the big corporations and big banks.  The $1.5 trillion suddenly lent to big banks this past week and plans to bailout the airline industry is a clear sign that the US government is willing to inject money into the piggy banks of the rich and wealthy making superprofits, while working people are left with loans, panic, and uncertainty.

“The Trump administration is worried about stabilizing big banks, while workers are concerned about how to put food on the table.  This amount of money could have been used to wipe out the student loan debt crisis which is roughly over $1.5 trillion. These funds must be redirected to meet the public’s critical needs, instead of the insatiable greed of the ruling class,”  said Ramiro.  

 

Working families are disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, with temporary closures of workplaces, schools, and public spaces.  Service workers in particular face shortened hours, income loss, unemployment, and at-risk workplaces. Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) are continuously stranded to fend for themselves in foreign lands and seas while being the breadwinners of their families.  In the case of the Grand Princess Cruise Ship, which had 28 passengers and crew infected with COVID-19 on board, over 1,000 workers including more than 500 Filipinos were left stranded on the ship for nearly a week docked at the Port of Oakland without adequate health care, even though passengers were allowed to disembark and avail of medical attention days earlier. Most major cities have enforced social distancing measures, but ultimately the Trump administration and other fascist regimes’ delayed response and privatized care endangers millions.

“While the most immediate concern we face is combatting COVID-19, we must not forget that underlying the pandemic is the most dangerous disease — monopoly capitalism, which is at the root of the current crisis,” said Ramiro.

During this time of crisis, we must strengthen our collective efforts to show solidarity and support, and expose the crumbling US-Duterte regime for its criminal and corrupt reaction to the pandemic.  We must continue to launch public education and service campaigns to meet the needs of vulnerable communities, and assert the people’s basic democratic rights to sustainable livelihood, quality jobs, healthcare, paid sick days, and social services.  Only through achieving national independence and genuine democracy in the Philippines, can we dismantle the semi-colonial and semi-feudal conditions that keep our healthcare system backwards and underdeveloped. In a socialized economy, public resources would truly reflect the public needs of the vast majority. We stay committed and ever vigilant to arouse, organize, and mobilize the Filipino community alongside our allies to expose this inhumane system and fight for systemic change towards a healthier, scientific, and socialist future. ###

 

Sources:


BAYAN USA: Liberalizing Philippine Economy Will Bring More Misery to the Filipino People!

Just yesterday, the Philippines House of Representatives approved House Bill No. 78, a measure amending the 84-year-old Public Service Act to allow full foreign ownership in the public service sector including the transportation, communication and power industries according to reports from the Philippine Star.  The provision in the 1987 Philippine Constitution, which caps foreign ownership at 40 percent and reserves 60 percent for Filipinos, is meant to protect the rights of Filipino citizens to more affordable services which should be dictated by the majority Filipino ownership.  

 

 

“This House bill surrenders the Philippine economy to complete foreign ownership and investment. In essence, this is charter change of the Constitution through legislative means. Having foreign ownership of key utilities can and has already resulted in major disasters because they only prioritize profits and do not care about public service obligations and the well being of the Filipino people.” stated Rhonda Ramiro, Chairperson of BAYAN USA, referencing the plunder and destruction caused by 100% foreign ownership of mining projects under the Mining Act of 1995, “If implemented, this attack on Philippine sovereignty will exemplify the worst of what the neoliberal economic agenda imposes on the world’s poorest nations.”

 

Duterte’s economic plan of “Build Build Build” already includes foreign business investments in his costly infrastructure projects and has received large amounts of foreign loans especially from China, reaching $924 million U.S. dollars.  Many of these projects disregard the communities in the pathways of the airports, railways and dams constructed under Build Build Build and will ultimately displace them. The recent water shortage in Manila was due to the major Kaliwa Dam project which is part of the Philippines’ involvement in China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). This project would uproot more than 20,000 indigenious peoples from their ancestral land.

 

“The passing of this Bill is in line with Duterte’s pro-big business and anti-people stance. As he pushes forward with his grand projects, Duterte will steamroll over the poor communities in his way,” continued Ramiro. “This is a move against the people’s demands for national industrialization that places more importance on the country’s needs for jobs and affordable finished goods for the people and not for profit.  The Philippines has a wealth of natural resources, which should never be handed over on a silver platter to foreign ownership when it should benefit the country and its people. The Filipino people will fight this underhanded maneuver by Duterte and his loyalists in Congress.”

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FREE THE LEYTE 5! STOP Attacks on Progressive Organizations!

“We condemn Duterte’s despicable attacks on human rights defenders in Leyte, Eastern Visayas Philippines. The regime continues to employ arrests on trumped up charges, wide-scale raids, and brute violence to crack down on anyone who opposes Duterte’s reign of terror. This shows to the world that martial law, in fact, rules the country, even if it has been formally ended in name,” stated Rhonda Ramiro, Chairperson of BAYAN USA, in response to today’s simultaneous raids of offices of progressive organizations including BAYAN Eastern Visayas, Karapatan, People’s Surge, Rural Missionaries of the Philippines and Anakpawis, which resulted in the arrest of five people.

BAYAN USA demands the Duterte regime to stop the blatant attacks on progressive organizations and the immediate release of the Leyte 5:

Frenchie Mae Cumpio, Journalist

Alexander Abinguna, Katungod Eastern Visayas

Marissa Cabaljao, People’s Surge Spokesperson

Mira Legion, BAYAN Eastern Visayas 

Marielle Domequiel, Rural Missionaries of the Philippines

These attacks will continue to plague the Philippines under Duterte’s counterinsurgency program Oplan Kapanatagan and Executive Order 70, which have placed the Philippines under a de-facto martial law with the purpose of violently suppressing any opposition to his regime. 

“Duterte’s fascist repression will fail to prop up his regime for long. The people will continue to respond with relentless opposition, invoking the spirit of the First Quarter Storm, that 50 years ago today lit a fiery, long-burning resistance against the Marcos dictatorship–and ultimately toppled it,” continued Ramiro. 

BAYAN USA calls on its members and all people who stand in solidarity with the Filipino people in our fight against the rotten fascist U.S.-Duterte regime to organize indignation rallies calling for release of the Leyte 5 as well as all political prisoners!

#FreeLeyte5 

#ActivismIsNotACrime 

#EndStateFascism

#FreeAllPoliticalPrisoners

 

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