For Immediate Release
March 23, 2020
Reference: Irma Shauf-Bajar, National Chairperson, GABRIELA USA email@example.com
EVERYDAY PEOPLE RESPOND: NO TO EMERGENCY POWERS FOR DUTERTE
Philippine President Duterte called on Congress to declare a state of emergency in the country, granting him special emergency powers, a response claimed as necessary by the President to address the current COVID-19 pandemic. GABRIELA USA says Duterte already has the means to address the health crisis without emergency powers. In the Philippines and in the US, grassroots organizations like GABRIELA continue organized peoples’ response actions to COVID-19 to help address immediate needs of working class women, families, and children amidst the Philippine and US government’s inept response to the pandemic.
With Duterte’s record of abusing state powers to violate the people’s rights, Duterte’s move for emergency powers will enable him even more to push forward undeclared martial law in the country. Since the outbreak of COVID-19 worldwide and in the Philippines, the US-Duterte regime has used the pandemic as an excuse to respond with military action instead of a comprehensive medical response for the Filipino people.
“Duterte should provide mass testing and medical care to Filipinos vulnerable to COVID-19. Instead he has increased military and police checkpoints, continues to surveil and harass those who are speaking up with the poor and marginalized of Philippine society, and has left those on the frontlines without adequate equipment, supplies, and personnel,” said Irma Shauf-Bajar, Chairperson of GABRIELA USA. “In this time of crisis it has been the people who are responding to address the needs of the poor and working class. We need an emergency response, not emergency powers.”
Collective efforts continue through community partnerships and grassroots efforts in the Philippines as well as in the US. In the Philippines GABRIELA, with the CURE COVID-19 Network, has been able to organize soup kitchens, post informational posters, and distribute sanitation kits, one-week food supply, and hand-sewn face masks. GABRIELA USA reiterates BAYAN USA’s five demands in response to emergency powers granted to Duterte:
- NO TO EMERGENCY POWERS of the Duterte government.
- END MILITARIZATION of Manila and Luzon
- GUARANTEE FREE MASS TESTING for all
- IMMEDIATELY REALLOCATE FUNDING for food assistance, healthcare services, staffing, and equipment for all healthcare facilities in the Philippines
- STOP THE ONGOING STATE REPRESSION, DISPLACEMENT, AND EXTRAJUDICIAL KILLINGS of the rural and urban poor, advocates for the poor, and critics of Duterte