One Big Thing: Have the Philippines Gone too Far in the Fight Against Coronavirus?
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What is it?
- In the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte has used the COVID-19 pandemic to enact an authoritarian crackdown including new emergency powers. This is cause for concern as Duterte has ordered the police and military to shoot dead anyone who breaks curfew.
- Reports claim that there has been a COVID-19 outbreak in a Filipino prison – which are already so over capacity that prisoners take turns to sleep or stand.
Why is it important?
- Duterte’s power grab is just another example of authoritarian overreach similar to what’s happening in Hungary, Venezuela and other authoritarian states. His is build on militant system of repression and fear. He has continued to attack journalists and critics of his regime – despite the danger posed by the global COVID-19 pandemic.
- If an outbreak were to occur in a prison, the results would be disastrous as social distancing is impossible. Experts have used a cruise ship as an example to illustrate the speed and deadliness of a COVID-19 outbreak in prison-like conditions.
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