As much as we’d like to see COVID-19 as a blessing, IT IS NOT

[Thumbnail: Screenshot from the movie ‘Parasite’ (2019)]

We, Filipinos, are so accustomed to looking at the bright side of things whenever disaster strikes. Stories of resiliency are rampant on social media even amidst a global pandemic, as if walking for hours to sell vegetables in a market without people is an inspiring story to clap for. My mind wants to see the “beauty” that these “encouraging stories” bring, but my heart continues to weep for the same people who are lauded on social media but remain unacknowledged on the streets. Did anyone consider their needs before the lockdown?

We are privileged enough to be in the position that we are now – me as I’m typing this at an ungodly hour, and you as you’re reading this from your mobile phones at the comfort of your home. However, there are people without shelter, those without food, and those who need to brave walking hours just to get to their workplace and serve ungrateful customers despite the community quarantine. Have you ever wondered what it’s like to get reprimanded for delivering late by primadonnas who can’t make their own food at home because they don’t feel like learning how to cook? As if the pandemic isn’t bad enough, quarantine measures are also showing the huge gap in class divide among others… and it reeks of privilege. Imagine preaching about silver linings to someone who has just lost or might lose a loved one.

My dad continues to serve in the frontlines despite the risk of contracting the virus. He has devoted his life to serve the nation, much like the thousands of doctors and nurses whose lives are also on the line, but let’s not forget the service sector – from customer service representatives who need to go through your ungrateful rants, to delivery personnel who are forced to provide your goods within x number of days because your sheltered ass can’t walk to a nearby store. These people deserve our thanks, not additional stress.

As much as we’d like to see COVID-19 as a blessing, IT IS NOT. Cleaner air and streets? Sure. More time to chill at home? Okay, but are these effects worth the death toll? Bonding and chilling at home with your family can happen even without this pandemic. Maybe you’ll agree if you’re not affected – much like the elitists of society who call marginalized people as “motherf*ckers who won’t stay at home”. Sorry to burst your bubble, Brenda. These motherf*ckers are paid per day without the leisure of working from home or depending their income for a week of paid VLs. If no one will echo the plight of the poor on any platform, then how would they be heard? Do you expect them to allot a huge chunk of their meager income just to get mobile data and rant on social media? We need to wake up.

There are a lot of shortcomings from the government, and we need not turn a blind eye just because we don’t experience it ourselves. In a third world country, we have to look out for each other in hopes of leaving no one behind. It may be a long shot, but we can try.

I do not know anyone within my circle who has died due to the virus, but I will not wait for anyone to do so before being moved enough to remind people that this is not the best time (and it never will be) to glamorize thousands of deaths worldwide. Affected families are stripped of their rights to properly mourn the dead in fear of spreading the virus. Like us, they can only weep in the comfort of their homes – if they have proper homes. So please, if you have humanity left in you, try to imagine what’s it like to be in the shoes of those in need. No need to force toxic positivity on people who are at their wit’s end. Before Tweeting “We are the virus and COVID’s the cure“, I hope your conscience reminds you that you’re almost inciting a death wish for everyone.

We need empathy during times like this. Be considerate, be kind. If we can’t bring people up with our words, the least we can do is donate to those who can:

Caritas Manila

Donate via Lazada here

Philippine General Hospital

Direct donations to Dr. Mia Tabuñar

Coordinator for Resource Generation, PGH Office local 2004

Mobile: 09193506917

Kaya Natin! Movement for Good Governance and Ethical Leadership

Donate via Ticket2Me:

or through BPI: KN Movement for Good Governance and Ethical Leadership, Inc.

Account No.: 3081-1173-72

Please send them a copy of the deposit slip via email

Stay safe and healthy, everyone.

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