I want to believe that the President’s Proclamation No. 934 declaring the fourth week of March as Week of Prayer for COVID-19 is sincere and not only for purposes of PR, papogi, points.

Photo credits: Friedrun Reinhold and Hamburg Stiftung

At the very least the declaration is rather very late and is not needed because even before the president’s appearance on television last March 12, 2020, about his late action on COVID-19, the churches have already been leading our people in praying regarding the virus and people infected and to those who have died because of it. In fact, in our case, we have already included it in our intercessions on Sunday and daily masses starting February 2020. We will continue doing it until the COVID-19 is eradicated and not only for one week as stipulated in the said proclamation.

We do not need nor expect from the presidency to ask us to pray, we expect him and his government to prioritize and spend his billions of discretionary funds, calamity funds and other funds in his dispensation to launch a FREE MASSIVE TESTING for the frontliners, the elderly, the sick and those with symptoms of COVID-19. We expect from the president for a medical solution to this health problem and not military control. Today, March 22, the Philippine Health Department reported 380 people with the coronavirus disease, fatalities now at 25 which includes 3 medical doctors, and recoveries at only 17.

It can be recalled that on February 1, 2020 was the first official death due to COVID-19 in the Philippines. Thirteen days later, February 14, President Duterte reluctantly declared China travel ban but he does not enforce it. On February 21, the Department of Health recommended for the declaration of a public health emergency but it took 17 days after, March 9, for the president to declare such a public health emergency. Worst, on March 12, he wrongfully imposed a lockdown effective March 15. Instead of solving the health emergency medically the government resorted to a military solution that brings panic and chaos to the populace. Lockdown is an action of politicians as a grandstanding that they are doing something for the people but lacks the necessary preparations for the economic sustainability for the poor especially those who are daily wagers.

Until now the count of infected persons in the Philippines cannot be trusted because our testing kits are very limited and testing centers are very few and not accessible to people. Restriction to houses and mobility of people is not the solution and the military force cannot kill the virus but prone to violations of human and people’s rights.

Free massive testing now!

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