COVID-19 and Philippine DemoCRAZY

To put it bluntly, democracy and freedom are helping the Philippines fail in its fight against COVID-19. Like the Americans, most Filipinos are not willing to give up their individual rights and privileges for the common good. 

"The exuberance of democracy leads to undisciplined and disorderly conditions which are inimical to development."

- Lee Kuan Yew

It is already the month of August and the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage in the Philippines and the rest of the world. As of August 5, 2020, the Philippines already has a total of 115,980 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 47,587 of which are active cases. A total of 66,270 individuals recovered from the disease while 2,123 died from it.

The increasing number of COVID-19 cases in the Greater Manila Area, composed of Metro Manila, Rizal, Laguna, Cavite and Bulacan, has put tremendous pressure of the region's health care system, resulting to health care workers being terribly exhausted from long hours of work or, worse, themselves becoming sick from COVID-19. This prompted various medical societies to write an open letter to President Rodrigo Duterte, urgently asking him to place the Greater Manila Area under Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) for 14 days to give health care workers some breathing room. President Duterte listened to their urgent plea, placing the Greater Manila Area under Modified ECQ, which is considered as a middle ground between their request and the need to balance it with the needs of the economy, industry, small businesses and daily wage earners, from August 4 to 18 while promising them benefits such as an allowance worth P15,000, life insurance, free accommodation and free transportation.

The fight against COVID-19 basically starts with the individual practicing basic health protocols. These include the wearing of face mask and face shield, regular washing of hands with soap and water, the use of alcohol or alcohol-based hand sanitizers to clean the hands if soap and water are not available, practicing basic cough and sneezing etiquette, and maintaining a minimum physical distance of one meter between individuals. The basic health protocols are simple and can be readily understood even by a child.

However, it seems that most Filipinos do not take the need to practice basic health protocols as a way of fighting COVID-19 seriously. There are those who either do not wear face masks properly or do not wear face masks at all. Physical distancing rules are deliberately being defied by some through mass gathering, from the usual tsismisan on the neighborhood kanto to drinking sprees or cockfighting being done at the barangay with local officials ignoring them in the name of "pakikisama" to the Communists and partisan press egging people to join protest rallies against "a fascist government that clamps down on press freedom and human rights" to protect an oligarch-owned television network or to protest a long overdue law that protects the country from terrorism.

To put it bluntly, democracy and freedom are helping the Philippines fail in its fight against COVID-19. Like the Americans, most Filipinos are not willing to give up their individual rights and privileges for the common good. The "me first" and "me only" attitude of the Filipinos, their nonsensical defense of leftist ideals such as human rights, and their sheer lack of discipline and sense of personal responsibility and regard for the welfare of other people and the community are causing COVID-19 cases in the country to explode at an alarming rate.

Some Filipinos, in particular the leftists, liberals and wokes, have the gull to compare the Philippines to the likes of Vietnam, Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea and Japan, which have relatively been able to control their respective COVID-19 cases. What they deliberately ignore is the fact that the said countries are Confucian societies, where the good of the community, sense of personal responsibility and respect for authority are being held in high regard. In the case of Vietnam and Singapore, these countries implement the basic health protocols and the law seriously, with them not tolerating those who would compromise the health and safety of the community.

The survival of the Philippines as a nation and as a people is at stake during the COVID-19. The only way for the country to survive is through the cooperation of Filipinos with each other and with the government, and giving up some freedoms and rights to protect themselves and others from COVID-19. As long as "Filipino democrazy," the unbridled democracy, freedom and human rights that pull the Philippines down, persists, expect the number of COVID-19 cases to increase, dead bodies to pile up, and health care workers becoming more weary and causing the national health care system to eventually collapse.

Filipinos have a choice: Pursuing democracy that will lead to COVID-19 compromising national survival or having a sense of discipline, personal responsibility and regard for the welfare of others and the nation to survive together as one country and one people.

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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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