The Holy Week is a time for rest and reflection for many people. However, this year may be totally different because of the pandemic and enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).
Right now, the nation is keeping a close eye on the government’s actions in response to the COVID-19 crisis. The good news is that the ECQ will be extended and that mass testing will start on Apr. 14, which will hopefully contain the virus and treat more patients as soon as Holy Week ends.
However, we also can’t help but worry about whether the government would make unexpected moves or be complacent at a time like this. This is the perfect time to remind all of you to still keep a close eye on our government officials even during Holy Week.
In case some of you forgot, Pres. Rodrigo Duterte said in his Apr. 6 address that the P275 billion fund mandated by the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act isn’t enough to address the needs of citizens. The fund is set to be distributed to medical frontliners and low-income households. Duterte also called on to the Department of Finance (DOF) to release P100 billion, which would be distributed to the poorest communities first.
According to a Twitter thread posted by the National Task Force Against COVID-19, the funds have been used to give financial aid to 200,000 workers, build mass quarantine facilities and get more test kits, among others. It’s comforting to know that the emergency fund is going to the necessary sectors, but many still questioned why P275 billion isn’t enough.
— National Task Force Against COVID19 (@ntfcovid19ph) April 7, 2020
If Duterte will receive the additional P100 billion from the DOF soon, citizens should stay vigilant and other officials should ensure that the funds are being distributed properly.
We also shouldn’t turn a blind eye to the abuses many citizens are facing. The 21 residents of Sitio San Roque, who were arrested for violating community quarantine rules and staging a protest because they weren’t getting aid, weren’t the only ones who were mistreated. There was also news of police officers and soldiers hitting alleged violators and apprehending street dwellers who don’t have anywhere to go.
Who’s to say that these won’t happen again during the Holy Week?
Normally, we’d all be taking a break from Maundy Thursday to Easter Sunday—and we still can. But we also have to remember that COVID-19 and the government’s duties to its citizens don’t stop just because it’s a holiday. In this “new normal” we’re living in, many of us can’t afford to be lax.
Of course, you can still use the holiday to take a much-needed mental health break from work and everything that’s happening in the country. Don’t force yourself to monitor COVID-19 updates if you simply can’t anymore. Take a breather and come back when you’re ready.
For those who will continue the fight during the holiday, let us hope for the best and that the government doesn’t do anything to undermine our fellowmen.