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Put FOOD, not guns, in the hands of the people- iDEFEND

ML Anniv 2019

Tuesday, 29 June 2021

Despite PNP reports that the crime rate is down[1] due to quarantine restrictions, President Duterte fancies arming civilian volunteers to “help government forces enforce the law”[2]. Duterte’s failed presidential campaign promise to curb crime in the first six months of his term is now being used to propose extreme anti-crime measures which wastes billions of pesos in police budget and resources to supposedly strengthen law enforcement.[3] This includes the 4.5 billion in confidential, intelligence and extraordinary funds of the Office of the President.[4]

Yet top criminal suspects like drug lord and Duterte ally Peter Lim continued to evade the law and escape arrest. Some of the most prominent graft and plunder convicts have escaped prison terms during Duterte’s government.

At a time when front liners are desperate for their special risk allowances, families are experiencing increased hunger and more than four million are unemployed due to the pandemic, Duterte resorts to his default solution to all crises- violence and death.

The call for accountability in the police killings of civilians, accountability for the police’s abuse of power and trigger-happy behavior, and the double standard of justice in the Duterte administration, should inform the priorities of the government’s anti-crime program. The trust and cooperation of the people with law enforcement can only be achieved if the people believe that criminals and the police are separate entities.

Arming civilians in order for them to take the law into their own hands is certain to bring more chaos in the desperate situation of the country under COVID19. There is never a rational basis for this, unless we are to speculate an attempt by Duterte towards an armed vigilante force to have a role in the elections of 2022. Otherwise, we demand that the President abandon his violent and deadly predisposition and for once in his last year in office, respond to the real needs of the people.