Former Vice President Jejomar Binay on Thursday criticized the government anew for not giving the people what they really need amid the coronavirus disease pandemic – financial assistance.
“A year after the lockdown, the government wants the people to go back to jobs that no longer exist. Government wants people to spend money they do not have,” said Binay.
Binay said despite the high unemployment rate and rising food prices, the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte has no intention to give the people much-needed cash assistance, especially the poor and those greatly affected by the outbreak.
“It’s not because the government does not have the funds. They can easily source the money from infrastructure projects of legislators, or from the NTF-ELCAC (National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict), but they refuse to do so,” he said.
On March 16, 2020, President Duterte placed the entire island of Luzon on lockdown in a bid to stop the spread or local transmission of the deadly COVID-19, which reportedly originated from Wuhan, China.
The government described the first lockdown rule as “enhanced community quarantine” or ECQ that included strict home quarantine for all households, a suspension of public transportation, the regulation of food and essential health services, and the heightened presence of uniformed personnel to enforce the quarantine.
The President said the ECQ was not martial law and called on people not to be afraid but to obey the law.
“By now, it should be clear to the government that it cannot use police tactics to control a pandemic,” said Binay.
He added: “What is needed — and what is still sorely lacking after one year — is a pandemic response that is focused, comprehensive, competent, and compassionate. And what the public needs is ‘ayuda’ from the government, not intimidation, threats, or bullets.”
The former vice president said four million Filipinos are jobless, inflation is high, the economy is down, and millions are hungry.
“The number of COVID-19 infections continue to rise. The government’s solution: ban the public display of affection,” he said.