This is part one of a two-part opinion piece on current events in the Philippines. While based on news taken from trusted sources, I make the disclaimer that this blog is NOT a news channel. Content on this blog (this article included) should be taken with a grain of salt. I do not intend to be taken as – and nor should anyone take me for – credible source.

What must we give in order to reach a state in which our government finally stops finding new ways to infuriate us? Within this week alone, we witnessed Duterte shutting down pleas by health workers for the government to put its foot down on the whole coronavirus issue as cases skyrocketed past the 100,000 mark, somehow taking a pretty reasonable alarm as a call for “revolution”, followed by the disreputable Cynthia Villar’s comment that health workers “work harder” because apparently the Philippine economy, like Dickinson, can’t stop for death.

At least now the government’s COVID-19 task force has called for a return to stricter lockdown measures, but unless I’m reading the last public-address-slash-midnight-rant incorrectly that’s pretty much the entire plan: stay home and wait for the virus. Somehow Duterte seems confident that he’ll have access to a vaccine by December all thanks to our best friend Xi Jinping.

But we must remember, a vaccine is not a cure. A vaccine is a safeguard for an already healthy person to not get sick upon exposure to the virus. A vaccine will do nothing to an already sick person, especially for someone already dead. And if you’re keeping count with me, we now have more than 116 thousand confirmed cases, markedly higher than China’s reported 84,419 – and they had this before everyone else.

Last Tuesday, we saw a jump in cases by 6,352, which is now the biggest daily increase not just for the Philippines, but for the entirety of South East Asia as well. Experts from the University of the Philippines predicted we’d reach 100,000 cases by the end of August. We did it on the first week. Now we do the math: how many of us will remain healthy up to December? Into the following year?

If he’s any lucky, Xi might not have to put much effort into claiming the Spratlies, as it’s becoming more and more likely we’ll all be gone quite soon.

In the same public address, Duterte expressed his disappointment regarding the health workers’ very public call for action by saying that they could have “written a letter” – a comment I find puzzling considering that this is coming from the head of state, who has direct contact to the man calling the shots for the entire health department. He then launched into some of his most puzzling statements in his, unfortunately, still-ongoing presidential term: 

“Huwag kayo magsigaw-sigaw, revolution. Magsabi kayo revolution, then ngayon na. Try it. Patayin natin lahat ng may COVID-19. Is that what you want? We can always end our existence in this manner.” (trans: “Don’t call for a revolution. Do it then, right now. Try it. Let’s kill everyone who has COVID-19. Is that what you want? We can always end our existence in this manner.”)

Link to source.

All this talk of killing just goes to show that Duterte is plenty skilled at getting his people killed, but not at keeping them alive. 

Published by Dominic Dayta

Dominic Dayta is a statistician and short story writer. His fiction has appeared or are forthcoming in The Brasilia Review, Philippines Graphic, TAYO Literary Magazine, and Liwayway. He lives in the Philippines.

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