Joint statement against increased policing in Ontario in response to COVID-19
Anakbayan Toronto and Canada-Philippines Solidarity Organization (CPSO) denounce the Ford Government’s decision to provide police with “additional temporary authority” to make up for their inadequate attempts to curb COVID-19. The Ford Government’s failed response employs similar anti-people tactics seen in the Philippines, known for its brutal militarized response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As organizations mobilizing Filipinos and non-Filipinos in Canada towards genuine peace and democracy in the Philippines, we see a stark link: that the ruling class blames the governments’ missteps on the exploited and oppressed peoples.
The authoritarian use of force scapegoats the people, while the state skirts its responsibility to safely meet our economic and social needs. Threats of fines disproportionately punish the poor and further criminalize people experiencing evictions and homelessness. Threats of surveillance place undocumented workers in a heightened fear of deportation.
The Ford Government’s response further emboldens police officers who are responsible for harassing and killing residents in racialized, working class communities. Regardless of the increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases, the Ford Government has repeatedly ignored the calls of health professionals and the voices of organized workers for paid sick days and a proper vaccine rollout.
Racism is endemic to the Canadian economy. Racialized workers disproportionally make up 34% of the frontline workforce. This includes 900,000 Filipinos in Canada. 311,000 Filipino keep Ontario moving, working in the service, food, and care industries.
Filipinos are at higher risk while working in these essential industries, however they have no choice but to leave their homes to work to support their families. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, overseas Filipinos continue to send billions of dollars in remittances to the Philippines – just to ensure the well-being of their families back home.
Under President Rodrigo Duterte, the Philippine government implements heavily militarized lockdowns. This has decimated over 130,000 jobs in Metro Manila alone, heightening the economic crisis faced by the people with no sufficient financial aid. The Duterte regime arrested over 76,000 people for violating lockdown regulations.
With the formation of the Anti-Terror Law and the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), the just and righteous cries of the people for jobs, livelihood, and welfare are met with trumped-up charges, arrests, and death.
COVID-19 further magnified the failure of Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s leadership. Anakbayan Toronto and CPSO demand a government that enacts policies for the welfare of the masses, not for profit.
From Ontario to the Philippines: we demand funds for health and vaccinations, not for police and militarization!