Rappler speaks with 6 residents from different poor communities. They tell the same story: President Rodrigo Duterte promised them food. But they have received too little to nothing at all.
If not by coronavirus, they believe death will come from hunger.
Two weeks have passed since President Rodrigo Duterte placed the entire Luzon on lockdown or “enhanced community quarantine” to contain the explosion of novel coronavirus cases in the country.
This means people are not allowed to leave their homes unless for “essential reasons” – which, for the government means, purchasing food or working to keep medical care and the supply chain of goods going.
For residents of poor communities, where most people do not qualify for exemptions, the lockdown signified less to no income.
President Duterte assured them they would be given food through their barangays, municipalities, and their city local governments. He even asked for unprecedented special powers from Congress to make it happen.
Rappler spoke with 6 residents from different poor communities, and their accounts point to a president failing to keep his promise. Some of them – neglected by their local officials – are from urban poor communities who have received help barely enough for their families. This has forced them to look for food elsewhere: the church, non-governmental organizations – others have taken to the streets.
Some 21 residents from the urban poor community of Sitio San Roque in Quezon City walked out of their homes on Wednesday, April 1, demanding that they be given help. Using the government’s guidelines against mass gatherings, cops arrested them.
The simmering frustrations of the poor are one of the major considerations in a crucial question for the Duterte government in these critical times: how can the government save people from both hunger and COVID-19?
Until the government answers this question, millions of Filipinos will continue to face the risk of starvation if not the infectious disease itself.
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