BY REIN TARINAY
MANILA — #DuterteResign trended on the Philippines’ social media platforms, after the country’s capital and its neighboring provinces were put yet again on a stricter lockdown. This after an all-time high of active COVID-19 cases in the country and with the health department logging not less than 9,000 new cases in the past two days.
On Saturday evening, the President’s spokesperson announced that the National Capital Region and the provinces of Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal, earlier referred to as the “NCR Plus Bubble,” will be put on Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) from March 29 to April 4. Under the strictest lockdown, only “authorized persons” are allowed to leave their homes for essential travels only.
Harry Roque, in his speech, pointed out that people would not find it difficult since this is not the first time that an ECQ has been put in place. He said that guidelines for the government’s social assistance to the poor will be provided on Monday, but went on to say that he is “sure na sure” (very sure) that there will be an increased presence of uniformed personnel, referring to state security forces, to implement the lockdown on the ground.
In a tweet, the League of the Filipino Students said the imposition of the ECQ resulted in panic buying as the public prepares for the week-long lockdown.
The effect of the sudden ECQ announcement: at a supermarket in España, Manila, people are already panic buying to prepare for the lockdown.#DutertePalpak #DuterteResign #OustDuterteNOW pic.twitter.com/A9AtbwxAvG
— League of Filipino Students (@LFSPhilippines) March 27, 2021
Netizens also aired their doubts on how another ECQ can curb the spread of the virus if there are still no mass testing and concrete solutions.
The Philippines has not gone beyond its last year’s 50,000 daily testing target, as they continue to log only about 30,000 to 40,000 at best. The government earlier admitted that contact tracing remains their weakest link.
GOING BACK TO ECQ IS SENSELESS WITHOUT MASS TESTING AND TREATMENT!
— mayka #SaveLumadSchools (@maykamaykaba) March 27, 2021
A year into the world’s longest and strictest lockdown, the Filipino poor suffered from hunger and homelessness while frontline health workers were denied due protection and better working conditions.
Related story: Majority of COVID-19 loans not used for pandemic response
daily reminder that PH debt is bloating to ?10.33 TRILLION yet we are back to ECQ with delayed and insufficient rollout of vaccines, congested hospitals, lack of medical equipments for COVID-19, no mass testing, and no financial aid for the vulnerable sectors #DuterteResign
— gabrielle kim (@baldozeeer) March 27, 2021
what the people want:
proper distribution of vaccine
what they keep giving us:
ECQ in different fucking variants #DuterteResign
— vince (@vinscharle) March 27, 2021
Stop pretending that your plans and strategies are effective.
Stop blaming the people why cases increases.
Stop acting that everything is fine.
Bcos everyone knows how “palpak” you handle the situation with your dog Roque. #DuterteResign pic.twitter.com/sVBKzMT8MX
— Gavreel (@tynegav) March 27, 2021
An ECQ without proper plan, financial assistance/framework, and effective Covid response will just be a lost chance.
— sadness everdeen (@louisenotlouise) March 27, 2021
We’re not even “back to square one”, we’re worse off. Our cases are at the highest it’s ever been, the hospitals, our frontliners, our workers continue to plead for help, supplies are running out. We are lagging in the rollout of vaccines. No learning, no progress. #DuterteResign
— Reese #OustDu? (@ViFeelings) March 27, 2021
what’s the essence of going back to ecq when we are still govern by these incompetent asses in the government. this is so useless if they still wouldn’t improvise a mass testing and mass vaccination for the people. i felt really sick seeing the headlines #DuterteResign
— fearlessly, edzel? ?? (@edzfullofstars) March 27, 2021
This pandemic could have been resolved a long time ago if they just listened to the medical professionals who knows what to do and we wouldn’t have to go back and suffer like this again. This government’s endless cycle of incompetency is beyond me.#DutertePalpak #DuterteResign https://t.co/9wWT36mFQ1
— patrice (@boacpatrice_) March 27, 2021
In a statement sent to the media, Ibon Foundation executive director Sonny Africa said that “stopping people from work and taking your time vaccinating is not a COVID response strategy — it is making people suffer from incompetence or worse, for some sinister agenda.” (With reports from Janess Ann J. Ellao)