The formidable COVID-19 pandemic has changed much of our daily lives in a short period of time. Panic stricken Filipinos have been obliged to follow the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) imposed by our national government for the past 43 days. However, the implications of the ECQ have caused turmoils to those who cannot afford to not go to work due to their “no work, no pay” status. Furthermore, pleads and complaints about the seemingly slow distribution of government assistance funds have flooded social medias such as facebook and twitter. These were even more ignited when news came out that the president has ordered the police to shoot anyone who causes disturbance to the ECQ. Amidst our fight against COVID-19, a broiling battle within our nation have also come up as to whether the government is efficiently doing its job or not. The question: Will our resentful posts and opinions towards the government augment our fight against COVID-19?
COVID-19, which’s first outbreak began in Wuhan, China, affected the Philippines on January 30 when the first COVID case was confirmed. During which an outbreak of resentful posts on twitter targeted the president on his decision to not ban Chinese nationals from coming in the country. President Duterte later on explained that the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that there was no need for a lockdown and banning Chinese nationals would be a form of discrimination towards their nation. Netizens’ fury did not stop there however. On March 16, President Duterte declared the ECQ over the Luzon area. As the government tried to address the extreme lack of PPEs for the front-liners and shortage of test kits, some groups including the Kabataan Partylist chose to rally against the lockdown (even going live on facebook) calling it a masked form of martial law. Moreso, people supported this idea by expressing frustrations through various social medias with the common manifesto of “tulong medikal, hindi militar” which further evolved to “ayuda hindi bala” when the President ordered to shoot troublemakers who may have been under the influence of leftists (referring to political left) on his televised address on April 1. Those who may or may not have watched his address and relied on the ABS CBN news report which only emphasized the phrase “shoot to kill” went on a rampage on twitter and facebook saying that our government is incompetent and knows nothing but blood shed. That included many artists of ABS CBN like Nadine Lustre and Maris Rascal who voiced out their frustrations on twitter and instagram.
Many of us are also under the impression that the allocated funds of 290 billion (disclosed by the government to be used in projects and programs lined up to combat COVID and soften its economic impact) is being misused which is why some of us receive late or no relief goods or social amelioration fund. Many choose to rant on social media and complain relentlessly about our government. But have we not stopped to consider how the government releases funds on the hands of millions of people? We have our local government units who should be accountable for the efficient distribution of relief goods and funds. Those with creative minds even make fake news consisting of how the government is corrupting COVID funds so they can use it on the next election. Do we not see the magnitude of our complaints? Of our relentless hate towards the government, towards the president who have stopped at nothing to control this outbreak? Indeed, we have various opinions on how the government should tackle this crisis that most of us are obsessed pointing out what they see wrong with the government. There are also some who go to the extent of going out, campaigning and rallying when the government and the Department of Health (DOH) have pleaded us to stay home. We simply seem to have no discipline which justifies why military forces have been deployed to look over the implementation of ECQ.
Social media holds great power in influencing other people. And indeed it is being misused greatly even in times like this. We are in the midst of crisis that could annihilate our nation and yet all we care about is proving our point on whether why you’re an anti DDS or not. Since the internet is pretty much available to those who use social media as a form of government destruction, why not use it to read real statements of the president and know all the allocation of funds for COVID-19. Shouldn’t we spread awareness and encourage our fellow Filipinos to listen and obey the government? Wouldn’t it be better if we play our part as a Filipino and help those we could reach that the government could not? And if we really despise the government’s actions that much, would you not be less of a burden if you could just keep your thoughts to yourself and not encourage people to share that hatred with you? Spreading animosity towards the regulations and laws that the government has created to protect us from this pandemic will only add up to the burden of this crisis when in reality we should even be thankful.
Look at the status of the United States of America (whose citizens, some of them, even voiced out their envy towards us). COVID has spread like wildfire in the USA which has become its epicenter because many were against lockdown and so they settled with an “America on Pause” regulation wherein it is up to you on whether you still want to go out or not. We are lucky enough that despite our hate rampage on social media, strict checkpoints are well established, pass slip policy are being strictly enforced and social distancing is being reiterated daily by the DOH. So next time, if maybe you are bored and have nothing relevant to say but complaints and hate, just kindly settle down with a coffee to keep your fingers from typing on social media. It is high time that we stop being ungrateful Filipinos and actually be a part in helping our nation conquer this pandemic. Afterall, we are only after one common goal- to free our country of this virus. And as we are working towards that goal, may we please fight with our Philippine government and not against it- play a significant part amidst this crisis.