Cash aid distribution not the task of AFP and PNP, stop militarization of COVID socio-economic response

“The government is once again treating the Social Amelioration Program as a peace and order and counterinsurgency concern and not as an important socio-economic intervention. Police forces are already helping barangays and local government units in implementing strict quarantine protocols. They are visible everywhere in communities. Why go overboard and order the 205,000 Philippine National Police force to lead SAP distribution together with the Armed Forces of the Philippines? This is outright obstructive and unacceptable,” says the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas in reaction to President Duterte’s order for the AFP and PNP to facilitate the distribution of the 2nd tranche of SAP in so-called problematic areas and far-flung barangays.

“Ano ang gagawin ng pulis at militar? Huhulihin din ang mga magrereklamo sa proseso ng SAP? Kapag pinaghinalaang NPA ang SAP beneficiary, hindi na bibigyan ng ayuda at aarestuhin na lang? O baka naman gusto pang makihati ng PNP at AFP sa SAP na dapat para sa mga mahihirap? Is this what the government aims to do? To further terrorize the already suffering and traumatized population?,” the peasant leader asked. Kapag nakita ng mga magsasaka na mga sundalong armado ang namimigay ng SAP, lalo silang matatakot na humingi ng ayuda.

Duterte gave such instruction on Tuesday as the DILG presented show cause orders to 43 local Mayors for poor and delayed SAP payout accomplishment and as reports of corrupt practices in barangays over the SAP also emerged. Some 23 million poor families are expected to receive the 2nd tranche of the P6,500 and P8,000 cash aid starting next week.

“As if the Martial Law-style implementation of the lockdown is not enough, the government is full-on militarizing the SAP and aid distribution,” Ramos said. We encourage social workers to maintain the integrity and independence of the DSWD. Allowing the AFP and PNP to lead the cash aid distribution is improper,” Ramos said.

“If the DSWD and DILG are not satisfied with how LGUs and barangays are handling the SAP distribution, there are community organizations and associations that can help. In the first place, it was Duterte himself who assigned such heavy responsibility to the LGUs,”  the peasant leader concluded. ### 

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