Widespread hunger is alarming
Just recently, Social Weather Stations released a survey showing that an alarming 30.7 percent of the population experienced involuntary hunger for the period Sept. 17-20. That’s around 30 million Filipinos, or 7.6 million families!
This brings to mind those jeepney drivers begging on the streets holding signs that said: “Di bale mamatay sa COVID, huwag lang sa gutom.” It did not seem so serious a message then. But now we are seeing the full scope of hunger that will surely affect more people in the days ahead.
This problem only means that our policymakers should consider more sensible solutions and clear-cut policies. For one, the distinction between MGCQ and GCQ has lost relevance, as seen in people jostling at transportation terminals to get a ride, paying no mind to safety protocols. In addition, there is confusion as to the number of people who are allowed to gather. The rules on wearing face masks and face shields and observing physical distancing in public transportation also need to be strictly enforced. If these simple solutions cannot even be implemented properly, how can we expect to bring down the number of COVID-19 cases in the country and allow the economy to resume fully?
The government has proposed a P4-trillion budget for next year, but with the economy down, where will it source tax revenues to fund this? The country cannot live on borrowing for long.
There are hopes that the Christmas season will be able to boost spending to fuel a depressed economy. But it remains to be seen, especially when there is no guarantee that the lockdown on NCR can be eased and the metro can be placed under MGCQ by Oct. 15. It’s a chain reaction: As long as there are new COVID-19 cases being reported, lockdowns have to continue, and this means a lackluster economy as businesses will remain closed or will operate minimally. If nothing is done, more people will go hungry!
MARVEL K. TAN
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.