Farmers group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) agreed with the outpouring of #OustDuterte grievances online amidst lame government response over 2019 new Coronavirus (nCov) threat. KMP National Chairperson Danilo Ramos says that “the harshest kind of vulnerability is a counterproductive national government which even worsens the people’s poverty.” The group have earlier expressed that the government has been alarmingly complacent and nonchalant towards the nCov threat. They reiterate today the need for a comprehensive and coordinated framework in addressing it, and for future ones.
“It can be said that the first nCov-related death outside China happened in our country because of the dismal condition of our health services,” Ramos laments. In announcing the death of an nCov patient in San Lorenzo Hospital yesterday, health officials commented how an earlier confirmation of the disease might have increased the chances for treatment. DOH Secretary Francisco Duque has earlier explained how the days-long confirmation process took a week in our case because of the sheer lack of equipment and technology. Meanwhile, other countries have developed kits which can confirm nCov cases in a matter of hours. “We believe that our medical professionals have done and are giving their very best in addressing the situation but they alone cannot bear the responsibility. There are technical and material requirements in adequately responding to the threat of nCov. And such requirements can only be provided by a responsible government,” Ramos says.
According to the WHO, the nCov has a relatively low mortality rate not reaching three percent, compared for example to SARS which has 10 percent.
Ramos adds that “while we grieve the loss of a life because of the disease, we are profoundly alarmed of the continuing threat the nCov poses to the general public, as long as the government continues its fragmented and almost impulsive ways of dealing with it. This negligence has been long-standing and has made the health services virtually inaccessible for millions of Filipino even without threats such as the nCov.” The group points out the disparate responses of various local government units in addressing the nCov threat. “While we take note of the initiative by local government officials in doing what they can for their constituents, the responsibility of the national government, especially with the resources and powers available to it, must be brought up. LGUs with varying capacities and resources cannot be left to deal with a nationwide threat,” Ramos explains.
In conclusion, KMP disputes Duterte’s oft boasted “strong governance.” “Our national government is actually revealed to be weak. Duterte himself has not shown competency, preparedness, and even compassion in dealing with the nCov threat. He has been dismissive of the legitimate concerns of the people. His actions and words has been untimely at best, compelling local government units and other agency heads to take initiative. Lastly, the necessary act of coordinating and pooling the vast resources and authorities available to the national government has been virtually left undone,” Ramos ends. #
(Featured image from NNARA-Youth)