Karapatan urges: #TulongHindiKulong

The poor were asking for food, looking for the promised food aid because they are already suffering from unbearable hunger. Instead of addressing their righteous plea, the police violently arrested them and the filing of cases against them are quickly fast-tracked.

The 21 arrested residents of the urban poor community of Sitio San Roque in Quezon City are currently facing five separate charges and bail is fixed at PHP 3,000 per count, with a total bail of at least PHP 15,000 per accused individual. These people are from an urban poor community who have had no food or income in the past three weeks —  people who have bore the brunt of the worst socio-economic impacts of the enhanced community quarantine and the Duterte government's utter incompetence and anti-people policies.

These are people who have no more money in their pockets to buy food and yet, they are now being made to pay thousands for bail. They are now being villified and red-tagged to discredit their legitimate demands and to mask the fact that the government has failed to address the needs of the poor such as social services amid this public health crisis.

Callous to the plight of the poor, ruthless and vicious against the hungry, while "compassionate" for its lapdogs — this is an administration who puts on a facade of being "pro-people" and "pro-poor" but has time and time again proven its propensity for State fascism, militarism, and mass murder. The poor under Duterte will only have three options to die — whether through bullets, sickness, or hunger.

We demand the dropping of these charges against the residents of Sitio San Roque. We call on the Duterte government to stop its attacks on the poor. What we need now is the urgent delivery of social services and government relief to the marginalized and mass-oriented, scientific, and comprehensive public health measures that uphold people's rights and welfare. Punitive and violent policies are only set to worsen the crisis and public unrest.