‘If this COVID-19 pandemic and the Duterte regime’s constant fumbling of its response is a test of anything, it is a test of our might as the Sovereign People.’
IF you’re a 90’s kid like me, then you probably remember the time when video game arcades was the thing and the game Mortal Kombat was such a huge deal due to its motion-capture fighting graphics and its novel “Fatalities.” But one thing you might not remember is the Test of Might.
The Test of Might was, well, mostly just a button-spamming exercise, where you try to make a meter hit a threshold in order to break certain materials. There was no real technique to it, no fancy button combinations – just hit the buttons as fast as humanly possible and that was it.
I imagine that this is what the Duterte regime thinks people want in terms of “mass testing.”
Every talking head of this regime seems to reinforce this notion, from the Health Secretary to the Presidential spokesperson to Koko The Explorer. “We can’t do mass testing, we can’t possibly test EVERYONE.” Even more ridiculous when they say things along the lines of “Don’t call it mass testing, that sends the wrong signals” when everyone, including them, have been using the term “mass testing” since the quarantine began.
First, no one expects this regime to perform miracles. Heck, some of us don’t even expect this regime to get the bare minimum done. What we do expect, regardless of political leaning, is for frontliners, especially medical practitioners, to be tested more aggressively, for patients under monitoring and under investigation to be traced and likewise tested, and for testing to be readily available as the need of the public arises. But more to the point, to constantly fudge around with semantics just to make the citizenry seem unreasonable is disingenuous at best, downright insulting at worst.
Keep in mind, all of this policy lollygagging is taking place even as the data of the Department of Health itself indicates that, far from flattening the COVID-19 curve, it went down after the first flood of test results, only to slowly climb its way back up. Where other countries have lengthened the period by which new cases emerge, ours remains fairly constant, made erratic by the 2-3 week backlog of case results.
Worse, this data is just the symptomatic cases where they seek medical attention. We don’t include people who died before their test results came back, or people with COVID-19-like symptoms but who were never tested. Neither does it include asymptomatic cases, who could very well be going about their daily lives completely unaware that they are potentially infecting everyone they come into contact with.
To add to even more confusion and rewriting recent events, DOH Secretary Duque now claims that we’re actually on our “second wave,” the first wave being back in January when there were only three known persons with COVID-19. Yes, that’s right: at the time when WHO was using DOH’s own data to claim that the Philippines was a “model” country for containing the virus, we were having our “first wave.”
We cannot keep shifting the goalposts and playing political scrabble while the COVID-19 virus goes relatively unchecked. We cannot keep button-mashing our pandemic policies and pray that something sticks.
If this COVID-19 pandemic and the Duterte regime’s constant fumbling of its response is a test of anything, it is a test of our might as the Sovereign People.
Kaya pa ba?