Social Discipline

Discipline does not guarantee a cure, but it does help in containing the spread of the virus. While everybody is anxiously awaiting a vaccine for the virus, it is important that the number of cases is managed to a rate that can be accommodated by the absorptive capacities of our hospitals and medical facilities.

The Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) implementation has been extended until 15 May 2020 in select areas, most prominently in Metro Manila, Region 3 and Region 4A where commercial, industrial and business activities are centrally located. As of 24 April 2020 (AM), there are about 6981 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Philippines with 722 recoveries and 462 casualties.

The government has faced serious and difficult challenges in the implementation of the ECQ and physical (social) distancing policy.  Compounding these problems are the non-cooperation and utter disregard of many groups and individuals on various guidelines being implemented with the ECQ policy. Rebels have launched frequent attacks on soldiers guarding COVID-19 aid distribution. Despite constant and repeated reminders, people continue to go out of their homes without valid and compelling reasons. Some social media users incessantly flood government sites and pages with unnecessary attacks, baseless criticisms and fake news aimed at needlessly ousting the President. Worse, cockfighting and gambling have been prevalent in several communities where throngs of people gather.

Social discipline continues to be more of an aspiration than a reality at a time when it is most needed in combating COVID-19. A lot of people find it difficult to follow basic guidelines when it comes to physical distancing and staying at home. A lot of social media users have turned Facebook, Twitter and Instagram into their personal diaries of anger, hatred and pessimism against government. Despite the declaration of COVID-19 truce, the CPP-NPA has been insincere with their words and have attacked our forces helping in the crisis. Everyone seems to be busy with their personal agenda while frontliners are sacrificing life and limb to serve victims of the virus.

Our contributions do not have to be as tedious and immense as those of the frontliners. These can come in small yet meaningful and helpful forms and acts.

Netizens, so to speak, must be very careful and conscious in sharing information and opinions. There is no place in the social media space for irresponsible, unverifiable and insensible posts and comments as it only adds to the stress’s government must attend to instead of having its entire focus in addressing COVID-19.

Written like a broken sonnet, citizens must "stay at home" at all times unless extremely necessary. Those found to be loitering needlessly should be severely punished within the boundaries of law and recognizing human rights.

Discipline does not guarantee a cure, but it does help in containing the spread of the virus. While everybody is anxiously awaiting a vaccine for the virus, it is important that the number of cases is managed to a rate that can be accommodated by the absorptive capacities of our hospitals and medical facilities. Staying at home and physical distancing have been proven effective measures in ensuring that the virus does not spread massively in communities.

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About the Author
Mr. Aaron Benedict De Leon is currently a Business Development Practitioner in a private consulting firm. He has more than six years of professional experience in leading and managing political and non-government organizations, specializing in organizational management, policy development and program management. He has had stints with notable political/socio-civic organizations, serving in various capacities as: Secretary-General of the Centrist Democratic Party of the Philippines (CDP) [2013-2015], Founding Chairperson of the Centrist Democratic Youth Association of the Philippines (CDYAP) [2012-2014], Philippine Representative to the International Young Democrat Union (IYDU) [2011-2012], Chairperson of the Christian Democratic Youth [2011-2012], Secretary-General of YOUTH Philippines [2010-2011], and Spokesperson/Communications Director of the GT2010 Gilbert Teodoro Presidential Campaign [2009-2010].
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