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Hong Kong OFWs say ‘no’ to Duterte’s emergency power

25 March 2020

By The SUN

Balladares (foreground) says President Duterte should say clearly where the requested funds will go

Militant Filipino workers in Hong Kong have assailed President Rodrigo Duterte’s request to Congress for emergency powers to “reprogram, reallocate, and realign” Php275 billion in funds to deal with the coronavirus contagion.

United Filipinos in Hong Kong chair Dolores Balladares said she doesn’t understand why Duterte is seeking emergency powers when he is doing illegal acts now.

Currently, there is no detailed list of where these funds will go, aside from Php200 billion to be allotted to an emergency subsidy program, while the rest will be for purchasing Covid-19 test kits, personnel protective gear, and equipment for quarantine centers nation-wide.
“He does not respect the Constitution. What are the emergency powers for? Also, he’s not doing much to respond to the crisis. He even passed on the responsibility to local government units, without providing support,” Balladares said.

“He’s incompetent and giving him emergency powers will not assuage that.”

Balladares said asking for funds without a detailed breakdown of expenses is dubious.
“As domestic workers, we know how important the breakdown of expenses is. When we ask our employers for money for buying groceries, or whatever household expense, they expect a complete audit down to the last cent,” Balladares said.

“We understand that this is essential to trustworthiness. Why should we not expect the same from the head of state?” she asked.

She said domestic helpers audit just a few thousand HongKong dollars, but could lose their jobs if they don’t do it properly.
OFW leaders say Duterte should not be given a blank check for funding the country's response to the pandemic

“Why can’t we hold the President to the same standard, as he’s asking for a blank check worth billions of pesos and they (congressmen) don’t even know how many testing kits, PPEs, etc. we need?” the Unifil leader said.

Balladares also hit the special treatment politicians demand when it comes to getting test for Covid-19. She said while scores of Filipinos are experiencing symptoms, the politicians are getting tested first even without symptoms.

“We understand that since Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri tested positive, the other senators fear being exposed to the virus,” she said.

The Department of Health’s guidelines clearly state that even with exposure to a positive case, people should first exhibit the symptoms before being tested. But this is the protocol that they are breaking at the expense of the country’s poor, she said
“With all these political blunders, it is clear that Duterte should resign,” Balladares said. “It is clear that he cannot control his allies in following the DOH protocols on testing. It is clear that he is incapable of putting the country first before his vested interests.’
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