Fishers’ group slams revival of “militaristic, unscientific” ECQ

Manila, Philippines — The militant fishers’ group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) slammed the revival of enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in the National Capital Region (NCR) and neighboring provinces, which the group said is an reflection of the Duterte government’s “epic failure” response to the pandemic.

In a statement, PAMALAKAYA said the revived ECQ is “doomed useless, doomed to fail” because of the same leadership and framework which is not intertwined to sufficient medical and scientific solutions to the pandemic.

“Same strict quarantine under the same framework of militaristic approach. There is no plan to strengthen the ever-crippled public health system. There is no free massive testing, aggressive contact tracing, free treatment, and most especially there is no massive vaccination. President Duterte should admit his failure to address the pandemic, he should be held accountable along with the military leaders in the anti-pandemic task force,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA National Chairperson said in a statement.

Hicap, former Anakpawis Party-list solon, slammed the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases which is mostly composed of military generals, over the pandemic response fiasco. The fishers’ group earlier called to revamp the IATF and replace military generals with proper experts in the medical field.

“It is high-time to hold these incompetent leaders to account and replace them with suitable and more competent medical and science experts who will objectively and decisively address this year-long public health crisis. Masyado na nilang inabala, ginutom, at pinahirapan ang mga tao,” Hicap added.

Lastly, the fishers’ group calls for free mass testing and vaccination for all, as well as continuous subsidy for marginalized sectors who are still enduring the economic crisis brought about by the pandemic and the government’s failed response.

Since last year, Pamalakaya has been demanding P15,000 production subsidy and social amelioration for 1 million small fisherfolk and fish workers employed in the sector.

“Revived ECQ should be accompanied with government aid and subsidy. We can’t just stay at home without guarantee that there would be economic aid and subsidy,” ended Hicap. ###

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