DALAWANG PISO: Thoughts of the Pandemic (And How We Will Survive)

It is already stressful to be inside the house everyday for weeks now. Almost everywhere in the world is experiencing that as well, even industrialized nations. This virus was not only a test of healthcare policies and solutions, but also governments on how they handle them from the national departments to local government units. In the Philippines, the nation now has the Enhanced Community Quarantine, and placed Luzon under lock down. Other provinces in Visayas and Mindanao also followed as their own initiative.

I do get out just to buy supplies good for days and see the outside world or our side of the small city of Mandaluyong. Seeing the difference from the busy city to almost a deserted one seems like one of those dsytopian films and books. But it is necessary move to flatten the curve and avoid mass infections and deaths. Economically it hurts but still the best move to avoid deaths which will also lead to a crumbling society. 

It's now April, and at the end of the month it will be my birthday. I am unsure that I will be able to celebrate it still on lock down or at least have friends celebrate it with me. It has generally changed our way of life for weeks. But despite this inconveniences, this is still far from the pain and suffering of those who got the disease, and with some unfortunately succumbed to the virus and will not a proper wake or burial.

This difficult situation has indeed tested the efficiency of the government from the ground up. From the Barangay who is the smallest governing body to the nationwide policy making executive branch which includes the president. Again, I've always been critical whoever is in office because that is what the people deserve. However, it is also important to work with PROPER government policies to combat the real enemy which is the virus.

We do have to give credit where credit is due. Local governments like Pasig, Manila, and Valenzuela has exceeded expectations in handling the situation. Our localities of Mandaluyong and San Juan did their work too, and sometimes will adapt best practices from other cities. Quezon city is a big city but I guess they are not quite prepared to respond quickly for a large city with millions of people. 

The national government through the senate and congress made the Bayanihan We Heal As One Act which gives government supplemental budget and provisions that will help in managing the pandemic situation. This also led to the approval of a 275 Billion Pesos (around $5 Billion) that will be used in aiding families especially the poor to have food on their tables and secure them for the days while the quarantine still affects normal economic activities.

However, there are still a lot of politics on both ends of the political spectrum. Fake news and prosecution was made to people who are not with the administration. The opposition uses the lapses of the government to push ousting agenda. There was a time that after a presidential press conference, Duterte threatened the NPA and leftist parties and might "shoot them dead". This also came at the time when there was a wave of prosecuting mayors and even the vice president struck a nerve to get a lot on people into twitter and have all top 20 trending keywords filled talking about their frustrations and anger with the government.

Eventually it was all cleared and the president even fired the official who wants to investigate on the Vice President about her own initiative for helping hospital and front liners. But again, the pandemic is still not over.

With the original end of the quarantine set on April 12, the government considers expanding it to 15 to 20 more days to ensure that the disease does not blow up. So far there is now more moves by local and national government like using conventions centers as isolation centers for PUI (Persons Under Investigation) and PUM (Persons Under Monitoring). Mass testing is being prepped up, however it may need to put up in more areas all over the country as well as making more test kits for the public.

Though the biggest challenge right now is how to keep almost 110 Million Filipinos fed and in their homes while necessity workers and medical frontliners keep supplies enough for an possible extension of time. There has been many poor people now getting desperate and ignore authority just to earn money for food and other expenses. 

I'm also greatly affected by this since my job involves content and partnerships which now hangs in limbo while things are not yet back to normal. For now, it is really important that we follow rules not to go out unless necessary, make PROPER hand washing a habit, and avoid touching our faces.

It's okay to point out things wrong just as long as it is factual and leads to a better solution. Know more about the disease with the right medical sources, avoid sharing fake news about unverified cures and procedures that can bring more danger than good.

If you make the most out of the quarantine by being productive, that's great. If you are doing nothing, that's great too. The important thing is we do our best to stay and avoid infection and not be a statistic. There are more people working than politicians who put their lives on the line, doing their job religiously, so don't be the asshole who wants to defy authority and put more people at risk. 

It's a collective effort of every nation to combat this infectious and deadly disease, many have died, many are still sick, and many are still infected everyday as we still grasp the cure for the virus. Despite our differences in beliefs, politics, status and more, we really need to help each other even in small ways, if you need help- ask, and after all of this is over let's hope that we retain the love rather than the hate, pain and frustrations. May our resilience as a people lead us out of this Pandemic and become better people.

To the past, we will learn and make more solutions.

For the present, may we stay safe and healthy.

For the future, we hope to be there together with our loved ones.

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