The virus, now a global pandemic, break out in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December last year, and quickly spread to over 100 countries with China recording over 81,000 infections and more than 3,200 deaths.
“Duterte and his fascist minions should stop manipulating the Covid-19 emergency in the Philippines to push their militarist and anti-people agenda and shortcut their fascist dream to govern the country martial law-style,” said Fidel Agcaoili, chairman of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, the political wing of the New People’s Army and the Communist Party of the Philippines.
He said Duterte ignored warnings not to allow Chinese tourists into the Philippines even though the virus wreak havoc in China and spread outside its borders. Because of the spread of the coronavirus in the Philippines, Agcaoili said rebel forces have taken up measures to help villagers in areas they actively operate.
“In February, while the Duterte regime had allowed the entry into the country of hundreds of thousands of Chinese tourists, including those from Wuhan, and ignored the grave implication of the death of the first victim in the Philippines, the revolutionary forces have been closely monitoring developments in the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic in the country.”
“As the virus started to wreak havoc in China and began to spread outside China's borders, immediately the revolutionary movement through its National Health Bureau has been busy organizing and mobilizing revolutionary health committees from the national down to the village levels to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in their areas, and check on the people's health,” he said.
Agcaoili also demanded the release of all jailed rebels across the country, especially the elderly and the sick, because they are in danger of contracting the dreaded respiratory disease. “The Duterte regime should heed the example of Iran and Canada in releasing prisoners, including those charged with political offenses, on humanitarian and health considerations in response to the threat of the virus spreading in prison,” he said.
Duterte declared a ceasefire from March 19 to April 15 to allow security forces to help contain the spread of the Covid-19 in the country. But the rebels rejected the truce with Agcaoili calling the government’s unilateral ceasefire as “an empty gesture, a psy-war maneuver to cover its criminal neglect in ignoring the grave medical crisis that the coronavirus is inflicting on the people.”
There was no immediate statement from the government on the allegations of Agcaoili, whose rebel forces were being blamed for the spate of attacks on military and civilian targets.
Just last week, NPA rebels executed tribal leader Datu Bernandino Astudillo, 73; and farmer Zaldy Ibanez, 52; whom they abducted in the southern province of Surigao del Sur.
The bodies of the victims were recovered in the village of Magyoyong in San Miguel town. The motive of the twin murders were unknown, but rebels had previously seized and killed tribal leaders and civilians not cooperating with them or accused of helping or passing information to authorities about the rebel group.
Both men were abducted by rebels on March 19 – the same day Duterte declared the ceasefire. (Mindanao Examiner)