‘Militarization’ in cash aid hit
Manila, Philippines — “This is full-scale militarism in the pandemic response that even the distribution of cash assistance to the poor families will be taken care of by the military and police,” This was the reaction of the militant fishers group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) on Thursday, objecting the transfer of distribution of the 2nd tranche of the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) to the Philippine National Police (PNP) and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
“The government’s military approach to a health situation is on a roll; first it deployed police instead of health workers to contain the virus, now it will be again the police and military, not social workers, that will distribute cash aid to the poor. These institutions that are tainted with corruption and abuses can’t be trusted with our cash aid. We fear that if the military takes charge in the distribution, especially to far-flung areas, they might coerce rural folks to gather and present the beneficiaries as rebel returnees like how they have been staging fake surrender ceremonies to pocket bounties,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Naitonal Chairperson said in a statement.
“Cash aid should be given immediately and unconditionally to the poor families to help them get back on their feet, not to be used for the AFP’s worn-out tactics of coercion and deception for anti-insurgency drive,” ended Hicap. ###