Senators on Duterte ‘shoot’ warning: ‘Let’s address hunger’ instead
MANILA, Philippines — Senators said Thursday that neither violence nor threats would ever solve problems arising from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak.
“Our law enforcers should understand that people are agitated because there is no food on the table. Let’s address hunger, and there will be lesser social conflict,” Senator Joel Villanueva said in a message to reporters.
The senator issued his views after President Rodrigo Duterte threatened leftist groups and violators of the enforced enhanced community quarantine in Luzon that he would order authorities to shoot them should they cause disorder or trouble.
The chief executive’s warning came following a protest action of 100 people from the urban poor community in Barangay Pag-asa in Quezon City who flocked to one side of Edsa Wednesday morning and demanded food and other assistance from the local government. But a commotion erupted at the gathering that resulted in the arrest of 20 individuals.
“Ang mga tao ngayon ay gutom, may sakit, at nawalan ng kabuhayan. Their urgent needs should be met not (with) death threats, but (with) compassion & concern,” Senator Risa Hontiveros said over Twitter.
Ang mga tao ngayon ay gutom, may sakit, at nawalan ng kabuhayan. Their urgent needs should be met not w/ death threats, but w/ compassion & concern.
Ang kailangan ng taumbayan ngayon ay pagkain, ayuda, at proteksyon sa mga frontliners, hindi dahas at pagbabanta.
— risa hontiveros (@risahontiveros) April 2, 2020
“Ang kailangan ng taumbayan ngayon ay pagkain, ayuda, at proteksyon sa mga frontliners, hindi dahas at pagbabanta,” he added.
Meanwhile, Senator Francis Pangilinan called for the immediate release of funds to aid frontline health workers and families growing hungry amid the Luzon-wide quarantine.
“Hindi solusyon sa (COVID-19) at kagutuman ang pananakot. Ilabas ang pondo para sa mga gunigutom dahil sa lockdown at para sa mga health workers na kapos ang mga gamit, (personal protective equipment, at iba pa),” Pangilinan said.
“Maliwanag na plano at solusyon para sa kaligtasan sa covid at sa kawalan ng makain ang punteryahin. Tama na ang pa siga siga na walang anumang saysay sa pagresolba sa pandemya at gutom,” he added.
The Philippine National Police, however, assured that authorities would not shoot leftists or quarantine violators, noting that the President may just have “overemphasized on implementing the law.”
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