COVID19 in the Philippines: An Appeal to Serve Proper Healthcare, Accountability & Justice

COVID19 in the Philippines: An Appeal to Serve Proper Healthcare, Accountability & Justice

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Concerned Citizen of the Philippines started this petition to Government of the Republic of the Philippines

"Law without justice is a wound without cure"

"When injustice becomes law, rebellion becomes duty"

My fellow countrymen, we are faced of the gravest of threats.. COVID-19, a disease without vaccine and proper medication wrecking havoc to the population of the world. However, this is not what's gonna end our lives, but the incompetence, lack of accountability and decisive action of our government. 

The world was first notified of COVID-19 last December 31, 2019 on Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. Since then, the government and its health department has done little to nothing to prevent the entry and spread of the virus but rather protected China and their own political interest. Below are the growing list of our government's incompetence and lack of urgent concern over the virus scare:

  1. The virus has been exponentially spreading overseas since then, no travel bans or restrictions or any mention of heightened alert and screening on major international transportation hubs was issued. January 30, 2020 marks the entry of the virus to our country when the first COVID-19 was confirmed in Manila. A day after that, the government issued a travel ban to Hubei, China only even when is known local transmissions on other provinces of China.  The Health Department, however, said it will only recommend an expansion of the travel ban to more areas and provinces in China as soon as new information on cases come in. Only on February 2, 2020 when they imposed total travel ban from China (except Filipinos).

  2. Instead, the government simply defended China citing that the "xenophobia against Chinese must stop" and even considering "the possible repercussions of imposing a travel ban on China" and that "China may question us why we’re not doing the same for all other countries that have reported cases of the new coronavirus" rather than considering first the welfare of its citizens
  3. No other major spikes of the confirmed cases happened for the remainder of February providing ample time for the government to prepare the country for an impending health crisis and also to contain the infection. But as of March 9, 2020, only 2,000 test kits were reported to be in stock by the health department sparking concerns among senators especially when they requested a PHP 2 billion supplemental budget. 
  4. Even with the scarcity of test kits and a demand from the public for a mass testing, "VIP testing" has occurred. This forced the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) to prioritize testing for public officials, with some being tested twice even without symptoms, while many other who are struggling for their life against the virus died without knowing what killed them. 
  5. On March 15, 2020, a community quarantine was put in place for National Capital Region for 7 days and on the next day, further extending it to an Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) until April 14, 2020, utilizing the PNP and AFP to maintain peace and order. This means closure of non-essential public establishments and the implementation of strict local travel restrictions. With this, however, no concrete plans and assistance were laid out by the government and instead, citizens are left to fend for themselves.
  6. A Senator who is, allegedly, confirmed to be positive from the virus (at that time) visited a well-known hospital in Makati, breaking quarantine protocols being a PUI, to accompany her pregnant wife urging the hospital to admit them and force the pregnancy amid virus scare. The hospital then released a statement denouncing the senator for his reckless and selfish actions. Reports also show the senator also visited a grocery store. The DOJ later defended the senator, citing "compassion" all the while hundreds of people are facing detention for simply disobeying the curfew of the quarantine. There is still no complaints or disciplinary actions were put in place against the senator.
  7.  On March 22, 2020, the executive department asked the legislative department to grant them "emergency powers" to combat COVID-19. On March 24, 2020, the Congress held a 14 hour special session and granted the executive department the emergency powers it asked for. This allotted the government PHP 275 billion worth of public funds, of which up until now, has no definitive word of where it will go. They have yet to implement any effective policy aside from furthering military-style containment as a policing strategy. 
  8. On April 1, 2020, an NCR Mayor is to be summoned by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) for allegedly violating the "Bayanihan to Heal as One Act" as he tried to use public transportation as means to transport health workers serving as front liners to the crisis. On the mayor's defense, he was just prioritizing the welfare of his constituents. The public later defended the senator.
  9. Also on April 1, 2020, the executive department addressed the nation, ordering the military to shoot unruly quarantine violators, threatening the safety of the people who are only asking for assistance they deserve amid the Luzon-wide lockdown. 

With the above ineptitude, we call on the GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES to the following actions:

  1. Denounce its obvious Chinese allegiance and prioritize the welfare of its citizens rather than their political ambitions.
  2. Provide a concrete plan and budget for the emergency funds released at the disposal of the executive department. The government should also effectively execute their plans, making sure that the affected people are prioritized.  
  3. #MassTestingNow and #NoToVIPTesting should be effectively observed, ensuring the infected are properly identified and given appropriate healthcare.
  4. Protect the frontliners, including all health workers (i.e. nurses, doctors etc) and minimum wage workers maintaining the economy against the virus; providing basic protection equipment (masks, PPE, disinfectants) and basic assistance to those heavily affected.


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