Makabayan bloc slams Duterte’s threat to declare martial law
MANILA, Philippines — The Makabayan bloc of the House of Representatives on Friday slammed President Rodrigo Duterte for threatening to declare martial law should attack by Communist rebels continue.
In a statement, the opposition bloc stated that Duterte was using the current coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis to implement his plan of imposing martial law.
“We have now heard straight from the horse’s mouth that Pres. Duterte intends to exploit the COVID pandemic as a pretext to implement his scheme of imposing nationwide martial and ruling as a dictator,” the Makabayan said.
“Furthermore, he is using unverified reports of alleged NPA attacks to divert attention from his administration’s poor handling of the COVID-19 pandemic disease caused by the virus,” the bloc added.
During his televised address Friday morning, the Chief Executive threatened to declare a nationwide martial law as he lamented the killing of soldiers by the Communist rebels.
Duterte also declared to extend the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in select areas—including Metro Manila—until May 15 due to rising COVID-19 cases.
The Makabayan bloc also lamented how Duterte, in his address, did not mention the death of retired Army Cpl. Winston Ragos by police Master Sergeant Daniel Florendo at a quarantine checkpoint in Quezon City.
“He also made no mention of the police killing of war shocked retired Army Corporal Winston Ragos which from all indications would be covered up by the Philippine National Police (PNP),” the Makabayan bloc stated.
The opposition bloc further claimed that Duterte’s decision to extend the enhanced community quarantine is “the inevitable result of his administration’s failure to implement mass testing, effective contact tracing, and containment measures despite more than one month of lockdown.”
“His administration’s failure to distribute promised food aid and financial assistance to over 13 million out of 18 million families is causing unbearable hardship, even as the police and military are committing more abuses in accordance with his orders.”
Duterte’s administration, the Makabayan bloc added, also failed” to ensure the safety of frontline health workers, with 1,062 of them have been infected with COVID-19.
“Again we are calling on the Duterte administration to stop using militaristic methods to solve the COVID-19pandemic because it will not work,” the bloc said.
“Fast-tracking mass testings, pro-active contact tracing and ensuring the protection of our frontliners as well as giving timely relief and cash aid to the families affected by the lockdown are the keys to solve this COVID-19 crisis.”
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