“Dapat mauna” - (We) need to be first

At the beginning of the outbreak of COVID19 in the Philippines, our President hastened his decision to halt travel to and from countries of infection.  During that time, we were in celebration of the Sinulog Festival in Cebu where there were a lot of tourists coming in to visit.  I for one, was there.

When we came back, there were rumors of a complete lockdown that was going to happen.  We were just recovering from the Taal Volcano eruption and certain news stations had to make a “leak” to make them look like they had legitimate, firsthand news.  

With this kind of rumor, the masses went into panic buying.  And because we don’t store a lot of food, we had to compete with the rest who felt the need to buy food good for months!

I felt deep remorse for the rich who only got to fulfill their survival needs, while the medium wage earners and below classes had to scour for food across different grocery stores, and some inter-city

Queueing at the grocery during panic buying due to fake news

This is the ugly mindset of Filipinos where (1) this media source had to make a first move so that they could claim rights to the information announced, and (2) stay ahead and survive despite the situation of others.

“Bigyan niyo kami ng tulong” - Give us help

And then Extreme Enhanced Community Quarantine.  Even grocery runs were extreme uncomfortable, and difficult.  Only one person per household is allowed to go out.  Work was suspended.  I had to make the runs because, as per household logic, “I had a stronger immune system, and I did not belong to the ‘compromised’ age groups.”

It was difficult planning which items to get, as I don’t have a car (and cars were prohibited during these times).  Budget was also important.  The credit card bills of last month was still there, the mortgage was still there.  

Biking for groceries during ECQ (look: checkpoints ahead)

To some extent, I knew I would have to eat canned meat at some point if the imports of vegetables would be halted.  I had to change my mindset.  But to some, it was as if don’t need to make changes because all the happenings is not their fault.

Even Boo felt like we had to be given some form of help.  Like somebody would come in and give some form of support.  Like food.  

“I told him, would you eat just noodles for the rest of quarantine period? It’s not nutrition; that’s called eating for eating’s sake.” And that’s the kind of help that can be given around.  That’s the kind of help you’re looking for?

As I ponder about the people who lost jobs, of course, the next question is, where to get money.  When the government started this idea of a financial aid, of course, I wasn’t waiting for some, but Boo was! 😅

I understand that those who suddenly lost jobs would have needed some form of help, especially since we are all taxpayers anyway, but the middle class citizens were hit the most.  The government didn’t see us as “poor” or low-income; but we were not given any peso for assistance.  This might seem unfair to most, but to me, growing up very independently, I know how to save for extended period of draught.

National News from Manila Bulletin (July 7, 2020) - https://mb.com.ph/2020/07/07/sap-2nd-tranche-payout-starts-in-ncr-dswd/

In the news, I strongly commend those people who went out of their way to see the opportunity in everything.  These are the kind of culture that I wish to see in most Pinoys one day.  Not merely asking, but trying to see the light beyond a tiny peephole is where we can all start to become positive game changers.

“Wala naman ginagawa ang gobyerno” - The government is doing nothing

I’ve heard this over and over again.  Not only from Philippine culture, but this is a shameful statement of any citizen saying that to their own government.

I’m guilty of not liking this current Filipino government.  There are some good that has happened, but there’s also a lot that was lost.  Let’s not forget the victims of the drug killings where innocents were also sacrificed.  However, I’m not one who would rant out that the government is doing nothing.

Something is happening, every day.  Yes, everyday, there’s change.  However, the changes that are taking place might not be in favor for you and you probably hate it.  Me too, if it were the case for me.  But I don’t agree to say that nothing is done.  I believe that everything done and planned for by the government is always for its people.  

Even the Daily Press Briefing in itself is an action from the government. Spokesman Sec. Harry Roque, Malacañan Palace

Some might not make that much sense, and some might be agreed on, but without sensible planning, yes.  But there was something done.  If the implementation is improper, then there are repercussions, but is there such a thing as a perfect government?

The takeaway is, try to help and not instigate anger and revolt.  There is no point dividing an already divided culture by spreading hate and disgust to your government.  Hope that there will be more rulers who would be sensible and patriotic enough to put the country first before themselves.

“Kanya kanya” - To each his own

Here in our Barangay, I have seen some extraordinary effort from our Barangay Captain and his crew.  There were several instances when the cases would rise and there were some youngsters and teens out on the streets without reason.

He would send out several cabs with megaphones calling out to these people to stay inside the house.  Some would heed, yet some would still go out not even wearing a mask.  

His message would start: “Tulong tulong po tayo..” (Let us help each other..) asking us all to care for each other by wearing masks, staying inside and wash hands.  When I listen to his callout, I feel quite proud that he’s doing a good job by being a compassionate leader and uniting his barangay to watch out for each other.

And he would later, display his contact number publicly, asking everyone for help to call out those that they see outside and report to him immediately so that his barangay officers would address the matter immediately.

We managed to get our active cases down to 1, just before General Community Quarantine in June.  However, there are still some isolated cases where you’d hear the people say, “bahala sila” (let them have their way — in a sarcastic tone).

"Alam ko ang gamot sa COVID-19" - I know the cure to COVID-19

This might be the trigger for this post.  I’ve heard this a few times over from different close people and from acquaintances, even.  Some will send me a link and some, well, they have a different story.

You know how it is when someone tries to convince you of something.  They talk fast, they look like they have an epiphany (and some even really say they had an epiphany of it).  It’s like the same statement underneath, “It’s hard to believe, I almost don’t believe it too, but it’s true”.

And it’s true because..?  Because, they have a link for it.  I ask them for the link and it goes to a Youtube page that was narrated by Siri.  Or, that it has  highfalutin words or extremely uncommon medical jargon explaining this or that about COVID19.  It’s been months already, short of 3 months before it gets to a year, and I’m not about to believe anything anymore.  

Sadly, some even knocked at our door to say, that God had told him that a Sauna bath would cure COVID19.  Maybe it will, but God told you that?

“Patay kung patay”  - (I’ll) Die if I should

I’ve saved this for last, because this is the worst I’ve heard so far.  Some of the “compromised” senior citizens are the ones who usually say this a lot and I’ve heard this from those who are close to me as well.

I absolutely abhor this mindset.  This is very selfish of people to say, because, unless you live alone, you should still be advised to follow the regulations for COVID19 control.  

Since some people might be asymptomatic, it would be difficult to say if one person is already a carrier of the virus.  Going out and mingling without reason can be an avenue to bring home the virus to someone with a weaker immune system in your household.  

This statement is absolutely not one born out of courage, but from extreme insensitivity and recklessness.  It does not matter if you’re afraid to die or not, but to die of a disease you can easily prevent yourself from contracting is stupidity.

This is one of the biggest reasons why, up to this date, we can’t be seen without masks (and also now), without full face shields.  Because these selfish people can’t be held responsible, not even for themselves.

One day..

One day, we can all look back and tell ourselves we contributed to the taming of the virus in our own communities, by simply staying put and being responsible for others’ health as well.

One day, I hope I can be able to say to all my fellow Filipino, “This is why we are able to have nice things”