Zarate to Duterte: Don't blame Filipinos for inept government action vs pandemic

Published May 4, 2021, 3:53 PM

by Ben Rosario

House Deputy Minority leader and Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate on Tuesday, May 4, chided President Duterte for “admonishing the already suffering million of Filipinos” seeking immediate aid for the difficulties and hunger they are currently suffering.

Reacting to a recent public statement of Duterte, Zarate said government’s ineptness in addressing the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic started everything.

Duterte has warned the public against lining up in community pantries set up by private individuals to provide food and other basic necessities to those who have felt the impact of the COVID-19 situation. He said these queues for free food and basic necessities can trigger virus infection on people.

“Mahirap kasi ‘yang hindi tayo magkaintindihan na may mga isyu tapos batikos sabihin itong gobyerno na ito pinipigil nila binibigay na nga. Binibigay na nga, binibigay rin sa inyo ‘yong sakit, dalhin mo doon sa bahay mo. Eh kung matamaan kayo ‘di wholesale (It’s difficult to have a misunderstanding on these issues then you will criticize the government that it is hindering people from giving. They’re already giving, they’re also giving you the virus so you can take it home. If you get it, then it’s wholesale),” Duterte said during a prerecorded address to the nation on Monday night.

He boasted that government has already distributed P5,000 cash assistance to the needy although it has no ran out of funds to finance it.

Zarate said “admonishing the already suffering millions of Filipinos to wait more time for the much needed aid is not only callous but an attempt to deflect government responsibility in the present still worsening crisis.” “Hindi naman sana malalagay sa ganitong sitwasyon ang mga Filipino kung di palpak ang administrasyong Duterte sa pagsawata sa pandemya ng Covid19. (Filipinos would have not been placed in this situation if not for the ineptness of the Duterte administration in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic),” said Zarate.

He added: ““Anong gusto ng pamahalaan mamatay sa gutom ang mga Filipino? (What does the goverment, to allow Filipinos die in hunger?” The opposition leader said that it now appears that the community pantries have become more reliable in helping the suffering masses compared to the Duterte administration, adding that this is the reason why the latter has resorted to smear and red-tagging campaigns against organizers.

“Truth to tell Filipinos would rather work than ask for aid or line up for food, but, as of February this year at least 4.2 million workers are jobless and the unemployment rate is at 8.8 % while underemployment is at 18.2% and more companies are closing due to the lockdowns,” explained the partylist solon.

“If the Covid pandemic was handled by experts that know what they are doing and not by retired generals who only know militarists solutions then we would not be in such big a mess as now,” he added.