Oplan Tokhang, Oplan Tambay, now Oplan “Kalinga”?

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Kabataan Partylist hits another atrocious “Oplan” of the Duterte Administration

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The continuing lack of a scientific and health-based approach to resolve the crisis brought about by the pandemic shows the Duterte Administration’s utter disregard for the primary issues and the plight of the Filipino people. Instead, it insists on using a militaristic response to the public health crisis – carelessly wasting precious public funds in the process.

Kabataan Partylist raises grave concern over the Duterte’s Administration new Oplan “Kalinga” which directs the state forces to conduct house-to-house searches of COVID-19 patients, whether asymptomatic or ones displaying mild symptoms and transport them to the government’s COVID-19 facilities, as if ready and conducive. It is nothing but inutile and will probably hasten the spread of the virus than to contain it.

Like Duterte’s previous wars on the poor, we have seen how the atrocities and patterns of abuse was quickly eatablished under Oplan Tokhang wherein state forces went house to house to supposedly arrest drug suspects. In reality, Oplan Tokhang led to the deaths of more than 30,000 Filipinos including teens and children who were regarded as mere collateral damage. It destroyed thousands of poor families and orphaned thousands of children.

Moreover, there is also Oplan Tambay which sowed fear among the Filipinos. Thousands of the so-called tambays were arrested arbitrarily and detained in police stations. We remember Tisoy Argoncillo, 25, who got arrested as he was buying prepaid load from a sari-sari store a few meters from his house. Tisoy was detained and later on died under police custody.

The militarist Oplan Kalinga proves different from its name, instead spreading fear among the Filipino people. Instead of recognizing and responding to the socio-economic factors that underpin an individual’s cooperation to the health crisis, Duterte and his despot secretary Ano push for the furthering of their police state.

The Duterte Administration has time and again shown itself as an instrument of violence and abuse, even amid a public health crisis. Instead of prioritizing medical solutions as expected in a pandemic, Duterte keeps his militarist response and wants to normalize militarism in the whole country. Instead of pursuing mass testing, giving ample aid to the people who need it, Duterte signed the Terror Law that will curtail the basic humans rights of the Filipino people.

Additionally, according to a report from the Manila Times, as of July 11, a total of 1,006 policemen have already tested positive. An additional 1,252 policemen are suspected of being infected while another 651 are identified as probable. With the new policy, it is highly probable that the ones responsible for further spreading the disease would be the police themselves.

We call on the youth and the people to oppose the Oplan Kalinga. It is nothing but an invasive policy which will cause an infraction of Filipinos’ rights. Now more than ever, we should stand united and amplify our calls for mass testing, jobs and livelihood and the continuity of socio-economic aid amid the pandemic. Only through a scientific, health-based approach and community-driven effort can we solve the health crisis not the militaristic and fascist response.###


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