Statement by Vasco Cardoso, Member of the Political Committee of the Central Committee of the PCP

On the measures decided by the Government in the application of the State of Emergency

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1- The country’s situation, in view of the developments of the COVID-19 epidemic outbreak, requires continued compliance with the guidelines recommended by Health authorities and which have deserved the widespread and exemplary understanding and acceptance by the Portuguese people, as well as measures to strengthen the response capacity of the National Health Service.

The PCP reaffirms its distancing and reservations regarding the declaration of the State of Emergency proposed by the President of the Republic and which, following the decision of the Assembly of the Republic [Parliament], entered into force today. While the Government is responsible for specifying, by decree, the measures that are to be applied following the declaration of the State of Emergency, the PCP stresses that the Constitution and the law - namely the Framework Law on Civil Protection and the Public Health Monitoring System - already envisage the instruments necessary to respond to the complex and demanding situation which the country faces.

2 - For the PCP, in the current situation there is the emergency of taking preventive measures and expanding the response capacity of the National Health Service, ensuring correct information to the population, assisting and addressing all verified situations, hiring workers and acquiring all necessary means.

There is also an emergency in ensuring the economic activities that are fundamental for the necessary response to the population’s needs of goods and services, guaranteeing adequate health protection for the workers.

It is an emergency that requires defending the workers’ wages and rights, which are already being affected by a wave of illegalities and arbitrariness, namely sackings.

The ongoing loss of income for hundreds of thousands of families, also requires the urgent extension of social protection; preventing the hiking of, and speculation with, the price of essential goods and services; preventing evictions from homes (whether rented or being purchased with bank loans); ensuring the supply of electricity, water, gas or telecommunications services.

In view of the obvious difficulties of the national economy, with emphasis on the reality experienced by thousands of micro, small and medium-sized entrepreneurs, it is also urgent to adopt measures to halt the degradation of the economy. The insufficient and limited nature of the measures announced so far by the Government shows the need, especially in the context of the enormous fragility and economic dependence to which the right-wing policy has led the country, to urgently take measures with a view to: boost national production, with emphasis on the production of food, medicines and clinical material; ensure that the various ongoing public investments are not interrupted; promote lines of assistance for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), on a contractual basis, according to the needs of the country; ensure the payment of State debts to suppliers with priority given to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

3 - Noting the population’s response, which contributes to the prevention and containment of the epidemic outbreak, the PCP rejects the instrumentalization of a situation that raises understandable and widespread concerns, to try and justify and impose, based on alarmism, economic and social regressions and attacks on rights. It is in this framework, that the PCP cannot fail to warn of the danger of abusive and discretionary interpretations that, under the pretext of the State of Emergency, may be manifested, namely regarding the right of movement.

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