By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN
Bayan Muna Party-list Rep. Ferdinand Gaite has scored the leaked memo from the leadership of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) over its preparation to implement a “martial law-type” lockdown following last week’s pronouncement of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Gaite said mobilizing the Armed Forces of the Philippines to impose the lockdown is “nothing else but Martial Law.”
“Not a type of Martial Law, not just like a Martial Law, it is Martial Law,” said Gaite.
Gaite stressed that “there is no constitutional basis” for the deployment of the military other than those enumerated under Article 7, Section 18 of the 1987 Constitution which states that the mobilization of the military, a Martial Law, could only be done “to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion.”
“None of these conditions exists, thus there should be no basis for the deployment of military forces amid the lockdown,” said Gaite.
According to Gaite, it was “baffling” why the President insists on stepping up a military-centric solution when experiences of other countries, and opinions from the medical and scientific community repeatedly say that this health crisis must be confronted in a medical way.
“Countries who were successful in combatting the virus did not resort to fascism. Their successes are the result of a comprehensive and appropriate medical plan, one that involves well-equipped health workers, not well-armed soldiers,” said Gaite.
He added that instead of mass testing, Mr Duterte seems to be “more hell-bent on mass arrests and mass imprisonment.”
“We can only keep people in their homes if we provide them with sufficient support. Yet this aspect of the lockdown is also frustratingly deficient,” said Gaite.
He noted that only less than 4 million out of the 18 million target beneficiaries have already received assistance under the government’s social amelioration program.
The same goes for the Labor Department’s COVID19 Adjustment Measure Program or CAMP, where only a fraction of the 1.8 million workers affected by the lockdown would receive help, according to Gaite.
“This is the main reason why people keep getting out of their homes. They are left to individually cope with the lockdown and pull themselves out of hunger,” said Gaite.