There are always legitimate exceptions to every rule. These exceptions, however, can be twisted and bended in a society with a huge social gap. Influential people have the gall to legitimize the illegal with the use of their status, network and power.
Our parents always reminded us to obey their commands for our protection during our childhood days. Our teachers and professors trained us well and occasionally advised us to strictly and carefully follow test instructions when we were still in school. Government authorities and signages regularly caution us to observe traffic rules and regulations religiously while traveling.
Rules are meant to be followed, not to be broken. Rules are established to main order; not to cause confusion and divisiveness. Rules were created to protect, not to inflict harm and punishment on people.
The COVID-19 crisis has forced many governments to implement lockdown policies to contain the number of infections and halt its multiplication throughout communities and localities. In the Philippines, the government has called on its citizens to "stay at home" and to practice "physical/social distancing."
The call for many to "stay at home" has been repetitive, constant and unrelenting in television programs, government press conferences and social media posts. However, some people have remained defiant to these pleas due to valid and stupid reasons. Lately, a Philippine Senator and Party-List Congressman have been under fire for violating the requirement for isolation and self-quarantine governing individuals exposed to confirmed COVID-19 positive cases. On the other hand, breadwinners and helpless individuals are forced to go out of their homes and work even with the danger of infection just so they could feed their hungry stomachs.
There are always legitimate exceptions to every rule. These exceptions, however, can be twisted and bended in a society with a huge social gap. Influential people have the gall to legitimize the illegal with the use of their status, network and power. Powerless individuals, meanwhile, are often abused even if their reasons are legitimate and warrant consideration.
In this time of crisis, government seeks our cooperation in the fight against the virus. We must also remind government that it is their responsibility to prove they can implement laws and rules without fear or favor, and without prejudice to the rich or poor.
Times call for shared responsibility between the government and the citizenry. If the citizens cannot follow the government, many innocent people will be infected of the virus unknowingly. If government will not be fair in implementing rules meant to curb the spread of the virus, citizens will not be enthused to follow an incredible institution.
Rules work both ways. Government must implement and citizens must follow. Failure of either party to fulfill their roles today can physically, economically and socially decimate the entire country.
Rules always sound so simple and elementary. Yet these are most difficult things to implement and follow, especially for Filipinos.
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