CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – As Metro Manila prepares for a lockdown amid the threat of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19), the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) has once again criticized the government over what it perceived as another effort of the Duterte administration to repress the rights of Filipinos.

Instead of drawing up a concrete plan to properly combat the effects of Covid-19, now declared by the World Health Organization as pandemic, the CPP said Pres. Rodrigo Duterte has resorted to putting the entire national capital region under a “community quarantine,” which will take effect Sunday (March 15).

The one-month lockdown, the CPP said, will only serve to repress the residents living in Metro Manila and nearby towns and cities.

Around 12 million people will be barred from traveling to and from the region, whether by land, air or sea. Up to 3 million more workers from nearby provinces will have their movements restrained, said a statement from CPP sent to the media by Maybelle Guererro, one of its information officers, on Friday (March 13).

“Failing to make restitution for cuts in the health budget and its failure to take decisive action at the onset of the disease outbreak, Duterte disregarded the deployment of health practitioners and setting up of adequate testing centers to contain the virus by providing accessible and immediate aid in affected areas,” CPP said.

It noted the earlier plan of the Phil. National Police to dispatch around 40,000 law enforcement officers should a lockdown be implemented.

“As per reports, police forces and soldiers are already stationed in key areas of Metro Manila for the lockdown,” the CPP said.

In line with this, it said Duterte has “ordered his state forces to arrest anyone who will not abide by ‘their rules”.

“This marching order and the massive deployment of troops are reminiscent of martial law in Mindanao and under Marcos wherein cases of warrantless arrests and arbitrary detention were pervasive,” it added.

The impending lockdown, the CPP said, “will be weaponized to silence dissenters, curtail the people’s right to protest and just demands to address the spread of [Covid-19].”

As of today, the virus has infected more than 128,000 people worldwide and has caused at least 4,717 deaths.

“The Duterte regime officially claims 52 local cases with five deaths. The CPP calls on the Filipino people to vigorously protest the inutile and incompetent handling of the COVID-19 issue by the regime,” it said.

The CPP said the people “must demand adequate testing centers and accessible health services, and the pullout of state forces deployed even prior to the lockdown’s onset. They must stand against the implementation of the lockdown and condemn the Duterte regime for using it as pretext to justify intensified fascist attacks against civilians. They must defy martial law in Metro Manila.”(

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