The global pandemic has caused us nightmares. We become emotionally distressed and wrecked thinking that we lose everything – jobs and start-up businesses as our means of survival. For months now, we do not know what to do. We keep on waiting for relief packages from the Philippine government. Yes, we believe we can receive kilos of rice and a few canned goods. And yet, we wait long enough to receive the promises that the government gives. The government through the DSWD will distribute the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) benefit and we expect to receive it since we qualify the criteria. However, we just wait for nothing since our local government units with their partners cannot provide all for the poor people. The Philippine government only prioritizes the poorest of the poor people in the country. How about us, the poor?
COVID-19 pandemic has brought terrors in us. My mother who has been bedridden for years cannot go to the hospital. Firstly, she cannot move around. Her condition does not allow her to travel plus the travel restrictions. Based on the mandate, people, aged 60 and above, are not allowed to travel due to their weak immune system. They do not have a strong immune system to fight the coronavirus as they say. Secondly, she is afraid that she can get the virus in the hospital, or the hospital will refer her to another. She does not want to happen due to access to transportation for us, the relatives. Thirdly, she cannot walk by herself and urinate too often that she needs medical and immediate attention here and there and then and now. When these things happen, we cannot assist her since the hospital will only require the nurse to take care of her. Or, the hospital will require one immediate family to take care of her. This option seems a hassle since my mother requires two more to take care of her physical condition. Thirdly, medical doctors and nurses are busy due to the surge of patients coming in and going out. Because of COVID-19, she has to wait for an additional three months to get her medical checkup.
As well, COVID-19 has made us feel the terror. The use of the pronoun “us” refers to the poorest of the poor, poorer of the poor, and the poor. I live in a concrete house, lose my job, and still pray to find jobs after COVID-19. I belong to the poor category. I categorize myself that way since I can still eat rice and dried fish. However, we miss the SAP support because our zone leader in the village include our house as a criterion for those individuals who cannot receive the SAP assistance. Moreover, we have nothing in out pocket, wallet, or banks. We suffer a lot. I know that other people who belong to the lower-middle class and the middle-class groups still suffer the same way. However, we cannot do something about it but to stay at home, to ensure social distancing, to apply home and community quarantine, and to ensure lockdown. For three months or so, the global pandemic has shattered lives, torn the economies, and produced terrors. Because of COVID-19, we lose everything.
Indeed, COVID-19 keeps us distant. It makes us wait for eternity. We do not know exactly what happens to us and the world around us. All governments in all countries work hard to mitigate the risks of the coronavirus. However, none can find means and ways to solve the problem. Nevertheless, we have to ask for a solution to the problem – virus and poverty. Are we shutting down the economy? Are we allowing all people to go back to normal? If we shut down the economy, are we able to provide food and medical support for the people – the poorest of the poor, the poorer of the poor, the poor, lower-income middle, and middle-class groups? If we go back to normal, can we provide vitamins and minerals to all people? I cannot complain. Perhaps, the government will decide.
Used Photo from KJ Rosales, The Philippine STAR