The Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino condemns the arrest and dispersal of urban poor residents of Sitio San Roque, who were holding a noise barrage near their community along EDSA this morning. The residents were seeking for food and assistance from the government.
In this time of crisis, food and state assistance are just and legitimate demands. Hunger and desperation are natural consequences of the state-imposed, ill-conceived enhanced community quarantine (ECQ). This is further exacerbated by the inept and disorganized response of agencies and local government units all over the country.
Fact is, these households already belonged to the poor and near-poor economic brackets even before the COVID 19 outbreak, the administration of President Duterte should have placed these communities on the top of their priorities and should heavily consider their plight when they decided to implement the ECQ.
To arrest hungry and desperate people is a new low for this administration. Not only did they dilly-dally in addressing the crisis in late February, the government treated the health crisis as a peace and order issue and deployed security forces instead of medical practitioners.
Protests similar to what was held in San Roque today will not be an isolated case. More and more people are questioning and rising up against the violent yet impossible implementation of ECQ in urban poor communities similar to the cases of Quiapo, Taguig and elsewhere. More community actions and marches shall burst open in the days to come as Duterte and minions continue to dismiss the calls for free mass testing and fail to guarantee food rations for all families.
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