Social media was abuzz with government’s sudden National Capital Region (NCR) ‘general community quarantine’ cum lockdown announcement on March 12. It came without guidelines and the only solution then-presented (even until now?) was to lock ourselves away.

President Rodrigo Duterte made two public announcements—that one on March 12 and another on March 16 placing the whole Luzon under ‘enhanced community quarantine’ cum ‘total lockdown’ (in the words of DILG Sec. Eduardo Año) that was somewhat digested in the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) press con that ended with only two hours left before the Luzon lockdown started.

Every day from that day up to this day, there is a nightly vigil for briefings on the clarifications and changes still being made on the guidelines. So many were affected—suffered, if you may—stranded on checkpoints, doubly paying for rebooking flights, walking two to four hours to work and then home. Those affected and those who did not quite agree with the hapless (but could have been avoidable) turn of events expressed their opinions on social media platforms such as Twitter. It was as expected since under lockdown, most are locked in on the internet, Netflix or social media.

To say these late and ever-changing orders and guidelines created confusion and panic would not be exaggerating—there was panic-buying and mass exodus from NCR before March 15. There was panic-buying until March 17.

Since March 12, there were two camps between favoring the lockdown as the solution offered by the government to curb the disease and to just obey, while others are looking for ‘medical solutions’ that continue to be lacking in the government’s set of solutions to the COVID-19 spread and seeking the answers to what will happen to the less fortunate during the lockdown order.

In pushing the point to just follow the government and stop criticizing, “anong ambag nyo?” [what is your contribution] have been hurled at those still raising questions and criticisms.

 

 

People are calling out the government for solutions, actions and accountability.

Those who favored the lockdown or staying at home have been called out for privilege, for they have the home, money, food and resources to stock up and stay in. “Bakit di na lang kayo sumunod? (why don’t you just obey?)–the poor need to earn the money with which they buy their food daily.

 

Some use wit to expose the ironies of the current situation.

 

Some are actually rallying contributions.

 

Some press cons and interviews showed that the avoidance of the calling the situation a ‘lockdown’ or ‘total lockdown’ was so that people do not think it too restrictive or to think this a martial law. One Cabinet secretary, meanwhile, said that this is not a lockdown because in a lockdown, like what was done in other countries, the government provides food, salary, everything their constituents need while on lockdown to be able to properly enforce it.

And yep, that’s probably it. For the middle class or ‘maykaya’, ‘kanya kanya’ the Cabinet Secretary said so himself. And for other needs like food assistance to the poor, the local government units are expected to provide—and that is based on their budget and capacity. Basically, the national government have yet to commit to provide most of the urgent needs of the poor and the needs that will arise over the next four weeks.

 

So, “anong ambag nyo sa gobyerno?” Whatever the government is doing is not their contribution. It is their job, otherwise why would they have the mandate to lead and decide for everyone if it is not their job or if they are not doing their job? They are even doing their job using the people’s money. Hindi nila ito pagkukusa o kawanggawa. (This is not their initiative or charity.)

 

And it is our charge as citizens to speak truth to power for the good of all.

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