A Filipino scientist working for the World Health Organization (WHO) defended the role of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP) in the fight of the government against the COVID-19 outbreak.
On a lengthy Facebook post, Ryan Jose Ruiz III shared his photos taken when he was in Africa during the Ebola outbreak in 2014, showing how soldiers helped the health workers in fighting the said epidemic.
According to him, people should not think that soldiers and cops only know how to use weapons and control civilians because they’re also knowledgable on handling other things like assisting the health workers.
“Reading vile and unfounded criticisms in social media posts about the mobilization of the PHL government of their military and the police in the implementation of community quarantine makes me share these photos and experience of mine serving emergency responses in UN missions particularly during the 2014 West African Ebola Epidemic Response,” Ruiz said.
“A lot of us, might think military and police are just “armed individuals.” Some naively think they are just there to show “power over civilians” and to use their armed status for “control.” Only a few knows that their contribution to the success of these missions are enormous,” he added.
“It is there organized nature, the chain of command, the skills in logistics, the civil operations training, quick reaction, combat awareness, indomitable spirit that actually fits the right people to do the job. So before you throw those comments that “we are fighting a virus, what’s the need of the military?”
He also cited how AFP and PNP could help the health workers who are already busy in treating COVID-19 patients by keeping law and order in the country.
“Think again, who do you think you can mobilize to:”
– move tons of medical supplies in orderly fashion with the right equipments?
– whom you can rely to build temporary clinics for epidemic so that it will not render an existing hospital closed due to overloading of patients?
– whom you can make sure that health workers can work properly without fear due to unruly crowd?
– whom you can have the confidence to make sure, orders for civilian control are fully implemented so that government response are unhampered?
– whom you can ask in crisis settings, to give up their personal responsibilities to their families to save other people families?”
He also asked the critics of the AFP and PNP to tone down as the soldiers and cops also have families.
“Remember, when you speak ill of them, think of them as someone who also have families and kids that they have to leave in others care so that they can tend on your own safety. Think of them as someone who is also equally afraid of the disease yet they have to be of service to the country.”
“Before you write those comments, articles and your opinion against them and about how useless they are in this COVID-19 response, think of what you have contributed so far for the country.”
According to him, the critics are just trying to put more reason for the government to revive the ROTC and mandatory military service in the Philippines.
“You just actually laid out a perfect example why we need to resurrect the ROTC or mandatory military service in our country and may this COVID-19 infection saves you and your family.”
The post of Ruiz already reached 2,700 shares on social media.
A few days ago, several activist groups criticized the government for ordering the PNP and AFP to preserve law and order in Metro Manila during the month-long community quarantine period.
According to them, the government should just focus on health workers instead of the military and police.