Filipinos and Their Disappointing Handling of the COVID-19 Situation

The Filipinos, the "Mexicans of Asia," as how my friends and colleagues in Singapore would describe us, are a disgrace. We really have no sense of nation and no sense of communitarianism. If we end up like the Italians, who are being killed mercilessly by COVID-19 in large numbers, the blame is solely on us because we are too immature as a nation and as a people, and are shamelessly proud of our immaturity.

I am writing this opinion piece at a time when Luzon is on its third week under a state of Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) and the Philippines and the rest of the world are dealing with a deeping global health crisis caused by the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). As of this writing, there are 2,311 COVID-19 positive cases in the country, with 96 patients dying from the disease and 50 patients being able to recover from it. The spike in the number of cases is quite expected, as the Department of Health (DOH) is able to improve its ability to conduct testing, thanks to an increase in the number of qualified laboratories and test kits.

However, I could help but be utterly disappointed with the way Filipinos are dealing with the pandemic. Unlike Singapore and other countries, the Philippines is still heavily divided along political lines at a time when national survival and millions of lives are at stake, with the usual obstructionist and opportunist opposition, composed of liberals and Marxists-Leninists-Maoists, "woke" millennials and Generation Z members, the Manila-based intellectual and economic elite, and partisan press outlets taking advantage of the situation to paint the administration in such a bad light, hoping to be able to finally realize their goal of usurping political power and keeping the status quo that dates back to Corazon Aquino and the rest of the Manila elite seizing power from Ferdinand Marcos in 1986. To make matters worse, most Filipinos belonging to social classes are too stubborn and sorely lacking in discipline they prefer to do things their own way instead of heeding government orders to stay in their homes and practice social distancing.

Since Filipinos really want to do things their way, the government should just allow them what they want to do on the condition that COVID-19 testing will be stopped and health care workers, who have been sacrificing and risking their lives to defend the country from a dangerous virus, with some of them already dying from the disease while in the course of duty, being told to go home to their family and stay at home. Only those who would follow the government can expect help from the government. Those who do not want to help themselves should not expect help to arrive, except perhaps for the State shouldering the costs of their cremation.

Since the obstructionist and opportunist liberals and Marxists-Leninists-Maoists, "woke" millennials and Generation Z members, the Manila-based intellectual and economic elite, and partisan press outlets do not want President Duterte, why don't they try ousting him now and replace him with whoever they want to become President of the Philippines? After they remove him, Visayas and Mindanao, long fed up with Manila exceptionalism, will secede from the Republic of the Philippines, forming their own republics and declaring war against Luzon. On the other hand, Luzon will be overrun by civil war, as the Tagalogs, Bicolanos, Ilocanos, Kapampangans and other ethnic groups on the islands, all of whom are also not in good terms among themselves, turning against each other.

While civil war and wars of secession rage, more Filipinos die from COVID-19, as the health care system that was supposed to care for them ceases to exist. The ASEAN countries and the rest of the world will close their borders and airspaces to Filipinos trying to escape due to fear of the imported COVID-19 cases rising and their welfare system being overloaded due to an unexpected influx of refugees. Wars and disease will kill Filipinos from all 7,000 islands of the country, no thanks to the obstructionist and opportunist liberals and Marxists-Leninists-Maoists, "woke" millennials and Generation Z members, the Manila-based intellectual and economic elite, and partisan press outlets.

That, my dear friends, is how the obstructionist and opportunist liberals and Marxists-Leninists-Maoists, "woke" millennials and Generation Z members, the Manila-based intellectual and economic elite, and partisan press outlets will trigger the demise of Republic of the Philippines and the extinction of the Filipino people.

But then, that is a hypothetical scenario. Honestly, a wild one. However, it can and is going to happen if Filipinos will not straighten up and deal with the COVID-19 situation together as a nation and as a people.

The Filipinos, the "Mexicans of Asia," as how my friends and colleagues in Singapore would describe us, are a disgrace. We really have no sense of nation and no sense of communitarianism. If we end up like the Italians, who are being killed mercilessly by COVID-19 in large numbers, the blame is solely on us because we are too immature as a nation and as a people, and are shamelessly proud of our immaturity.

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About the Author
Benedict is an agricultural economist, academician and writer. He has gained experience and expertise in various fields of economics, business, political science and public relations after through professional ventures in the academe, and in the public and private sectors. He has authored or co-authored key publications on topics ranging from agriculture and food security to global affairs and politics.
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