OPINION: In a Crisis Where Death Becomes a Choice

While the country is under Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ), we have this dilemma of fear: the threat of the corona virus disease (COVID-19) or the threat of hunger. We cried to the government to save us from both. Yet, the government gave us another threat, a threat that one will be “shot to death” if one tries to start an unrest.

Late night of April 1, Pres. Rodrigo Duterte delivered his address regarding the COVID-19 pandemic that has affected the Philippines for almost two months now, not just the education system, the economy, but also the source of living of underemployed family breadwinners.

In his speech, the president has expressed his ire towards the ‘leftists’ who had a chaos between the armed personnel in the midst of ECQ. The president indirectly referred to the residents of Sitio San Roque in Quezon City who protested against the government’s lack of assistance amidst the lockdown.

These people who were motivated by their hunger did not receive assurance from the national government if they soon can have food. Instead, the president gave his threat to those who ‘challenged’ the government when these people only wanted a supply of enough food while under quarantine.

For these people, earning money to feed their families everyday was already difficult even without health crisis. How much more when they have to stay home watching every family member cry of hunger? When even employed people also struggle to eke out their remaining funds in order to avoid potential starvation?

The situation of the homeless is even much worse. While we complain in our respective homes of how bored we are while on quarantine, there are people whose lives are more prone to the virus while they sleep beside the streets without food to eat, sanitizers and soaps for their hygiene, and vitamins to strengthen their immunity.

We, including the president and his administration, seemingly failed to live with empathy during these trying times. We forgot that the way of life in the city is different, that P500 is only a little value in the city, and that the place is congested that vegetables do not have a space to grow. Nevertheless of the contrast, we all don’t deserve this kind of suffering especially when we all know that our government, after the enactment of RA 11469, has the capacity to sustain us in the midst of this pandemic.

Perhaps the roots of the government’s failure to respond in the basic needs of the Filipino people are the disconnection between its agencies, lack of sense of urgency, and the absence of concrete contingency plans to fight this pandemic.

What has provoked these people to ‘challenge’ the government are their choices: to die because of the virus or to die because of hunger. However, are these even good choices for us?

BY JORIELYN MARTIZANO
ILLUSTRATION BY BRYAN ZANDER BACONGA

Author: theprismdaily

The Official Student Publication of University of Antique Main Campus

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