Gabriela party-list on Tuesday hit President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive to have police and the military help in the contact tracing efforts, saying it smacked of a militarist response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We reiterate our stand against the Duterte government’s militarist response to the Covid-19 crisis,” the group represented by Rep. Arlene Brosas said.
Gabriela noted that the Philippines on Monday already recorded almost 7,000 new cases of Covid-19, bringing the total to 136,638.
“We were even tagged as ‘land of Covid-19’ by the international community due to the rising cases of coronavirus cases and lack of mass testing,” the group said, referring to a recent headline in a Thai newspaper.
“This only means that the violent, militarist approach of the government is a failure — so, why bother sticking with it? Contact tracing is not even in the domain nor mandate of the PNP and AFP,” Gabriela said.
The group said the government should hire at least 137,000 contact tracers instead with a required budget of P43 billion.
“The infection rate is also alarmingly high among PNP personnel. In fact, as of August 9, the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in the PNP rose to 2,492 cases with 12 deaths and only 1,563 recoveries,” Gabriela said.
“The government needs to face the fact that its drug war tactics to fight Covid-19 failed miserably and even our frontline health workers are against it,” the group said.