Today in wishful thinking, Pres. Duterte hopes for a COVID-free December

Quarantine has been making it difficult for anyone to make plans for the future. With the active number of COVID-19 cases only rising higher every day, many of us are already trying to make peace with the fact that we may be stuck at home, dealing with the consequences of a failed pandemic response by the government, for even longer. But one person remains hopeful that we’ll be out of this pandemic hell real soon. 

In a near-midnight public address yesterday Aug. 10, President Rodrigo Duterte not only added Russia to the Philippine’s best friend list along with China, but he also volunteered to be the first to receive a COVID-19 trial vaccine. He says, “[Vaccines] are to be distributed, worldwide na yan, by September, October.” He also goes on to explain a little bit about how vaccines will be safe because they have undergone clinical trials and wraps it up by saying, “Hintay nalang kayo. Onti nalang talaga. By December, sabi ko, in the fullness of God’s time, we will have a hopefully COVID-free December and we can enjoy this Christmas season. Maghintay lang kayo, nandiyan na.”

Netizens quickly went online and hopped on the fantasy train, with everyone calling on the President himself to make it happen or calling out their friends who are still venturing out for nonessentials. While we would all love to just sit around, tweet and wait for a vaccine until the end of the year without repercussions, every day is a battlefield in a pandemic-ridden country without any sort of help from the government.

While the President waits to receive the first shot of the COVID-19 vaccine (instead of maybe giving these to medical frontliners), a million Filipinos are now living below the poverty line, citizens are being forced to risk their health just to be able to make a living and the country’s coronavirus curve has yet to be flattened, with a record-high daily increase of almost 7,000 cases reported just yesterday.

The declaration of Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) last Aug. 4 had everyone hoping that the government finally had an effective pandemic response up their sleeve. But a week later, we’re still left wanting. Everyone has had enough of this five-month lockdown that shows no signs of easing. We can’t afford to just wait anymore. While Duterte’s being hopeful about a COVID-free holiday, we hope that it doesn’t just remain a fantasy and that he and the rest of the administration take concrete, efficient and effective steps to turn it into a reality, but we won’t hold our breath.


Header art by Dana Calvo

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