"Welcome to the Philippines."
Santa Banana, in this time of crisis, the worst thing that can happen is social disparity where the rich and famous and the VIPs reign!
This is precisely what is happening now. There are politicians who get the privilege of being tested for COVID-19. The Department of Health may deny this, but we know for a fact that this is happening. Some reports have it that the tests are even being administered at these VIPs’ homes!
This is not surprising. This is the Philippines, after all. The powerful truly lord it over us mere mortals, especially during these times.
There is also the matter of allowing only one person per household to go out for supplies. But in gated communities, the rich go out with their drivers. How about the rest of us?
I should not be writing about this at a time when Filipinos need to come together for the common good. But I can’t keep silent about this.
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Somebody asked me why there seems to be no news about Filipinos from squatters’ areas getting afflicted with COVID-19 when the virus is already known to be transmitted locally.
I want to ask the Department of Health the same question.
A doctor told me that since people are usually packed in slum areas, living together in small rooms unable to observe social distancing, and with no running water that will enable them to observe proper hygiene, they are really prone to contracting the disease.
Yes, they are given food by the Department of Social Welfare and Development and others. But it is important that they be given priority in testing.
My heart goes out to the squatters at this time.
Another thing that is happening is isolation. When a person gets infected he or she is isolated and can no longer be seen by his or her family. Not even when the person is dying. Immediate cremation is required. All wakes are banned, such that family and friends cannot express their sympathy to the bereaved.
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The House of Representatives, in a special session, has earmarked P275 billion for a fund to implement the nationwide emergency declared as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Senate, likewise in a special session, has given the President emergency powers to implement ways and means to contain the spread of the virus.
These are all considered in the wake of the infection of more than 600 Filipinos.
What bothers me though is that the emergency powers given to President Duterte may include the power to take over private business in times of emergency. This may include utilities like power, water and transportation.
At the moment. I don’t think there is a need for the President to exercise this power. I believe it is only when private businesses can no longer provide the service that government should step in.
We all know what could happen if government takes over private business. There is immense opportunity for abuse and corruption.