DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Netizens and activists express their dismay and anger by making #OustDuterte the top trend on Twitter Wednesday night after President Rodrigo Duterte warned that he will order “Left” activists and violators of quarantine to be shot.
The President’s order came on a taped speech aired late night, following the arrests of residents in San Roque, Quezon City who staged a protest demanding food and assistance which they said had not arrived.
Authorities arrested 20 protesters for violating the rules of the enhanced community quarantine for mass gathering.
They claimed the protest was instigated by leftists, particularly the urban poor group Kadamay. Bayan Secretary-General Renato Reyes later clarified the residents did not belong to any activist group.
But the President fired at the activists, warning them not to use this quarantine to provoke protests.
“Do not test the Filipino. Do not try to test it. You know that we are ready for you. Gulo o barilan o patayan, (riots, gunfights or killing) I will not hesitate my soldiers to shoot you. I will not hesitate to order the police to arrest and detain you.,” Duterte said.
The president also said the Left cannot be part of what the government is preparing for relief for the nation.
Netizens, especially celebrities, took to Twitter to express their frustration that the President has to issue threats while many of the poor in Manila are waiting for the government’s relief efforts.
Even social media personalities in Davao, such as Davao Conyo and Tagum-born Maris Racal, winner of Pinoy Big Brother, went trending for their criticisms against the President’s speech.
Kilusang Mayo Uno chairperson Elmer Labog said the President’s threats are not the answer to the poor who are affected by the lockdown.
“Don’t threaten the hungry with the brute police force. These threats will not fill empty stomachs. The President should give the people adequate food and jobs, not bullets,” Labog said.
KMU reiterated that the lockdown has greatly affected the livelihood of the working people and lamented the inadequate relief, no mass testing, lack of protective equipment, ineffective contact tracing and poor health care.
Jay Apiag, secretary-general of Karapatan Southern Mindanao, point out the disparity authorities display between the poor and on Senator Koko Pimentel who violated quarantine protocols.
“Sa maralitang gutom ay kulungan samantalang sa Senador ay malasakit at dinadamayan (The poor goes to jail, while a Senator gets compassion),” Apiag posted on his Facebook account.
Meanwhile, the research group IBON Foundation points out that the President’s first weekly report on Covid-19 action showed the government’s relief package for poor families has barely reached its targets.
IBON noted government’s acknowledgment to the need of 18 million households; only 0.04% (6,314 beneficiaries) received cash, food, and non-food aid from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), while only 1.1% received 194,467 food packs prepared for maybe two to three days.(davaotoday.com)