Sunday, March 28, 2021

I Wasn't Here

Sunday, March 28, 2021

I wasn't here when the Philippine government placed the country under enhanced community quarantine. Having lived in a small, isolated town that sheltered me from the virus for close to a year, I can only gasp in disbelief when I hear stories about the draconian measures taken to control the spread of the virus in the Philippines—the 6 PM curfew, the travel and quarantine passes, the limited public transportation, the checkpoints, alphabetically ordered grocery runs, only people between 18 and 60 years old allowed to leave their homes, all establishments closed except for those that offer essential services, leaving many without jobs and any semblance of hope.

I came home four months ago when restrictions have been eased, and since then it became clear to me the need for such desperate actions. Now that we've reached 17% positivity rate and almost 10,000 new cases per day for three consecutive days—all attributed to a) more transmissible variants of the virus circulating in the country, b) government incompetence in the local and national levels, c) Filipinos' disregard for basic health protocols, d) all of the above—the country will be returned under enhanced community quarantine starting tomorrow, and I will get to experience at first hand the things I only heard about before. What used to be mere anecdotes has now become reality. 


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