Quezon City, the COVID 19 Capital of the Philippines, had urban poor people going out into a major thoroughfare (EDSA) BEGGING FOR FOOD and what did local police forces do, VIOLENTLY DISPERSE them. This is not the first time that citizens have amassed in the same place. Demolitions happened there and residents blocked the main Metro Manila artery to delay the destruction of their homes or in protest of their having no more houses to return to. The rationale for the massive police actions then was OBSTRUCTION to TRAFFIC.
Today is a different time. Traffic in EDSA is light. The whole of Metro Manila is in a LOCKDOWN situation and residents are required to stay at home. The problem there is that daily paid employees have no income while the informal business sector (peddlers, vendors, market stall owners, tricycle drivers, jeepney drivers, etc.) can not earn a living. It is precisely for this HUNGER issue that the President of the Philippines ordered local government units to distribute food through their barangays.
Quezon City has the largest land area and the biggest population in the National Capital Region. QC has the distinction of having the most number of confirmed COVID 19 cases among all cities and municipalities in the whole Philippines at 151 out of the national total of 2084.
So what did arresting 20 people achieve? Nothing. The mass gathering merely confirmed the thoughts of many of us that there are lots of hungry people out there, notwithstanding the press releases and media conferences of local executives, more specially Quezon City which has been attacked (even by non-Quezon City residents) and branded as INEFFECTIVE, INEPT and INCOMPETENT. Led by a mayor with FOOT IN MOUTH DISEASE, the coronavirus could devastate urban poor communities (and there are many in Quezon City) with concomitant spilling over to adjacent cities.
With so many repacking centers for the preparation of relief goods, why did the city executives not just arrange for the delivery of food packs and everyone would have gone home happy at least for the next few days that their food would last. Which brings us back to the question of “Would the same thing have happened in Manila, San Juan or Pasig?” The outstanding mayors Moreno, Zamora and Sotto may not have even allowed a situation to develop where there was need for constituents to mass up due to lack of food because forward thinking mayors would have made sure that there are no gaps in the food distribution process unlike in Quezon City where areas are not given food and favoritism is resorted to by barangay captains in some barangays.
Tatalon and Payatas, both huge areas with teeming poor residents could act up next.
Some 20 protesters demanding food aid arrested in Quezon City
Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 1) — Some 20 protesters demanding food and other assistance were arrested Wednesday in Quezon City for staging a rally without government permit, police said.
According to an initial report of the Quezon City Police District’s Station 2, the 14 men and six women were arrested at a portion of EDSA in Barangay Bagong Pag-asa at around 11:00 a.m.
They were apparently part of dozens of protesters shown on videos that circulated on social media. Some of them held placards saying they have not gotten any help from the local government amid the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine to curb the spread of COVID-19.
As of March 31, the local government of Quezon City said it has distributed more than 952,000 food packs since the imposition of the quarantine, which has restricted people’s movement.
Quezon City has 151 confirmed cases of the coronavirus disease. Of this number, 27 have died while 11 have recovered.
Nationwide, COVID-19 cases have risen to 2,084, with 88 deaths and 49 recoveries.