MANILA reached six uninterrupted months of quarantine and is heading towards the world's longest and strictest lockdown, with no end in sight, while efforts to contain the pandemic continue to fail in our country, "the center of Covid-19 in Southeast Asia." But why?
Our Covid-19 recovery rate in Western Visayas is 71.19%, whilst death is only 1.8%. Our total national statistics for recovery, compared to the whole of Southeast Asia is actually the highest, as reported by the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Indonesia has almost doubled our figure for deaths, yet why do we have the "one foot forward two feet backward" approach to the quarantine policies?
For the Philippines, the grand total fund releases related to Covid-19 reached P389,220,951,871.50 as reported by the Department of Budget Management (DBM) since the start of the pandemic. A pressing question is why has there been no significant impact of the huge pandemic budget released to its spread and containment?
Why is there continuing control of valued social gathering for Filipinos --i.e., church and worship? In Bacolod, the business groups have wailed about their perceived unreasonable extension of modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ). The announced general community quarantine (GCQ) status from October 1 to 31, a season traditionally for the MassKara festival and the influx of tourists, gives them little room for maneuver to undertake strategies for the survival of their businesses. Major stirrings from the private sector group are evident as a signature campaign calling for Duterte to place City officials under investigation. For the pumuluyo, Bacolod's extended MECQ has brought real toil, as I personally saw in the experience of a contract welder who had to walk starting at 4 a.m. from Murcia to reach our place at 9 a.m. and do his "pakyaw" job.
How are we to make sense of the irrationalities in national, regional, provincial, and city response to Covid-19? For some observers, especially democratic loving and religious groups, the Covid-19 smacks condition us for a police state. Others attribute Duterte's IATF acts to "power tripping."
Consider how all sectors, elite, non-elite, rich/poor, have been forced to adopt a new lifestyle -- mandatory wearing of masks and face shields, and banning of fellowship gatherings of any kind.
Under an increasingly irrational, muttering and threatening presidency in the country, we can only pray more fervently for the promised jubilee of the Philippines to come this 500th Year of Commemorating the Christianization of the Philippines. Maranatha!
October 01, 2020
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