Don’t punish the poor, improve government’s COVID-19 response instead | Inquirer Opinion

Don’t punish the poor, improve government’s COVID-19 response instead

/ 04:01 AM January 18, 2022

It is a scapegoat for ineptness and the inability to manage the impact of the pandemic two years after it hit. Government response is rather heavily militaristic instead of being scientific and painstaking in educating the public about the science and medical explanation of the pandemic.

Funds available went to corruption, signified by the face shields we wore for a long time. The Senate hearings showed how Pharmally has swindled the Filipino people and robbed us. Government is excellent only in its punitive responses that are against the poor and the ordinary masses, such as arresting and detaining them once caught not wearing face mask and shield, while Pharmally officials were fortunate to go through procedures like a Senate hearing where they had the opportunity to explain themselves.


The Department of Health (DOH) keeps on reporting the increasing cases of new infections, bringing the country’s total caseload since the pandemic began to more than three million. Why can’t this government implement free and efficient mass testing, contact tracing, and massive education on the value of vaccination? DOH has targeted to test 100,000 persons per day, but the testing only reached 73,000 per day in the midst of the Omicron surge. Mass testing helps in determining the spread of the virus. Through this, health agencies and the public can see a better way to its spread. Worse, instead of rectifying its lapses DOH reiterated that it is not advocating for mass testing. According to the Coalition for People’s Right to Health, up to now, 28 provinces still have no testing laboratories and three more are without a public facility.

The new “No Vaccine, No Public Ride” policy is clearly anti-poor. Ordinary people—workers and those applying for work as well as those attending to family needs like shopping or doctor visits—use public transport. Slow procurement and rollout of vaccines, rather than vaccine hesitancy, appears to be a main driver of the low vaccination rates throughout the country. Why punish the poor for the unavailability of vaccine jabs, which are only available through the government in the first place?


As lockdowns and its economic impact affect especially the poor, getting sick is a double whammy. A 120ml cough syrup, 10 capsules of cough relief, and four tablets of paracetamol will cost you at least P300. Facemasks would be a luxury, and vitamins will be an extravagant dream. With a minimum wage of P547 a day (if you have work at all), you know what will happen to your family with P247 left in your pocket.

We need a compassionate government. The miseries of the people are not the result of their sins or being “pasaway.” It is due to criminal negligence of government whom the people elected and trusted through their taxes and obedience. Hopefully, May 2022 will change the course of history. We need leaders and leadership that have track record of credibility and manifested sincere service to the people. Let us not entrust our lives to sham leaders, who are really “pasaway,” bringing our lives into a series of disasters.

Kapatirang Simbahan Para sa Bayan (Kasimbayan)
[email protected]

Read Next
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.

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.

TAGS: government COVID-19 response, Letters to the Editor, Norma P. Dollaga
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.

Fearless views on the news

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and
acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

© Copyright 1997-2022 | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.