By Rose de la Cruz I Published: August 2, 2020
The plea of medical frontliners for a 15-day break or enhanced community quarantine, which would expectedly be denied by government for the sake of the economy, may have fallen in deaf ears.
But the frontliners had achieved a significant moral and psychological victory in terms of airing their exasperation over the government’s lack of systematic planning and a roadmap on how to address the coronavirus pandemic.
They have achieved a great moral victory in terms of responses generated in various social media platforms, which in turn got international focus and attention and shame for the Philippine government for its ineptness and inutile responses.
The frontliners’ cry became the people’s battle cry now as they boldly point out government’s shortcomings on what should have been done but it chose to ignore because of its heavy dependence on military solutions to a health catastrophe.
It did not also address the social dimensions of poverty and rising unemployment during the draconian lockdowns it imposed since March, and which is refuses to do now (even if implored by the frontliners), for fear of a backlash for its continued lack of the necessary plans to address all dimensions of COVID-19—medical, social, economic and moral.
The sad reality is that people are now fully aware that government was bankrupt all along in resources, determination, proper communication skills and empathy for the people. It did not even have the slightest compassion for the plight of any sector, but just the new cronies, who are waiting to grab opportunities for economic windfall out of the miseries of the people.
The Cabinet, which was hastily convened last night by Executive Secretary Medialdea came out clearly against any more lockdowns (even if localized) as more people would die of hunger and, more importantly, the economy would dive to great depths. Italy, which became the epicenter of COVID-19 in Europe is now free from COVID-19 and deeply suffered economically but it is now slowly, but surely, recovering with its gradual re-opening of the economy.
Whereas we opened the economy even as cases spiked by the thousands each day, that could lead to the collapse of the healthcare system. As requested by the medical community, the Manila Archdiocese once again closed its doors to mass goers so as not to aggravate the spread of infections and would pursue live streaming of its masses and other activities.
As expected the Department of Health (DoH) lead agency in the Inter Agency Task Force on managing emerging infectious diseases (IATF) issued a three-page statement that contained nothing but motherhood statement and promises of what it would do, but which it should have done since March.
The DoH said it supports the call of frontliners to ensure a science-based approach and stricter implementation of community-quarantine measures. (For the record, DoH was the first to defend a politicians’ violation of quarantine protocols when he went with his pregnant wife to a hospital knowing that he tested positive for COVID-19.
Also, DoH prioritizes testing of influential and rich people over the masa, who have no means to pay for the tests).
It appealed to the citizens’ patriotism and sense of duty to help ensure that the healthcare system and the health workers are not overwhelmed as if– with all DoH’s data manipulation and grossly-overpriced medical supplies to frontliners—the public would still heed its call and trust the agency.
As of presstime, the President is said to be convening the select members of the Cabinet involved in COVID-19 responses (and consequences) and would relay his responses to the medical community’s urgent plea within today.