Roque’s pathetic ‘praise’ release; people’s fears
GENERAL SANTOS CITY — More than one year into this pandemic, the number of COVID-19 positive cases continues to rise, even as the Duterte administration claims that its response to this public health crisis is “excellent.” By what standard is this assessment based on? Or were there standards or criteria set at all? Or was presidential spokesperson Harry Roque just joking about it? Was it his standard sycophantic act, singing “praise” releases on how his boss and his team of former military generals have handled it?
Contrary to Roque’s claim that the government response has been “excellent,” COVID-19 positive cases have skyrocketed lately, with more than 10,000 registered on a daily basis. This indicates that government response has been wanting and that the government has failed in its overall approach in handling this pandemic.
This health crisis has made people become more fearful of having to deal with this on their own, and of feeling that government has reneged on its main duty of looking after the welfare of its constituents. Even as we hear of news that COVID-19 vaccines are now available, we are still in a quandary whether they are our ticket to keep ourselves healthy and safe from the virus.
Within my own extended family, our views on the COVID-19 vaccines are quite divergent. Some of us hope they will be the silver bullet to quash our fears of getting the virus. But some argue that vaccines for preventing diseases like influenza, pneumonia, diphtheria, pertussis, and tuberculosis have been developed after long years of research and trials, while COVID-19 vaccines have been developed in only less than two years.
Some family friends who are eligible to get the jab as frontliners have not registered to receive the vaccines our local government is distributing. One of them said, “I will see first what happens to my colleagues after they get the jabs; I don’t trust it at all, especially that it comes from China.”
Another family member believes that individuals promoting unbridled capitalism generated this crisis. She added that this was a business all along, from the “invention” of the virus to the responses to protect oneself from it, including the development of several types of vaccines. She believes that making one’s immune system strong enough to withstand infection is still the best protection one can have. Until now she refuses to get inoculated even if she belongs to one of the priority groups as a senior citizen. She argued: “All of us can die at anytime, and no type or amount of vaccination can prevent that. When the Almighty has already decided on when you stop existing, then it is your time to depart from this world, with or without COVID-19.”
But the most common apprehension among many ordinary people is that authorities, especially politicians, will use this crisis for their own avaricious ends.
Using a crisis or disaster to advance political interests is nothing new or out of the ordinary for many politicians. For the inordinately greedy among them, emergency situations and other types of crisis are golden opportunities for amassing more wealth to leverage their continuing stay in power. We have read of cases of overpriced food packs and other relief materials for victims of both natural and man-made disasters. There have been reports of slashing funds for the construction of badly needed government facilities for COVID-19 patients. And what about the amounts used for the purchase of the vaccines?
In about a year, national and local elections will be held. With the pandemic, we expect that the government will mobilize all its resources for the people’s overall well-being. Instead, we are seeing some local and national officials already gearing up for this major political event. We are also seeing how incumbent politicians are using this global health crisis to beef up their election kitty.
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