‘Pasaway’ Pinoys hinder anti-COVID-19 efforts
The sudden surge in the number of people spotted at malls after the lifting of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) has triggered concern over a deadly second wave of new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infections.
Interior Secretary Eduardo Año has ordered the Philippine National Police Task Force Shield commander Police Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar to personally meet and instruct all mall managers to strictly follow “minimum health standards” or the government will close down their establishments.
On Monday, Cavite Gov. Jonvic Remulla quickly shuttered the malls in the province because of social distancing violations committed by both the establishments and shoppers. He told his constituents that a home quarantine pass should not be used as a “freedom pass” to get through checkpoints and that a company ID was not a “lakwatsa pass.”
These are negative Pinoy behaviors that worry Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) adviser and medical expert Dr. Anthony Leachon. In our radio interview, he said that a recent social study showed that many Filipinos look at COVID-19 as something that would not affect themselves and their families.
Leachon called these Pinoys ignorant, “pasaway (hardheaded)” and uncommitted to the government’s campaign against the coronavirus disease.
This was why, according to him, the IATF and the government would be taking serious steps, including reimposing a “stricter ECQ” and lockdown in the near future.
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Kuwait and Qatar are making headlines by imposing the toughest penalties on their citizens or tourists who are caught without a face mask in public. Violators in Qatar face imprisonment for three years with a fine of $55,000, or P2.6 million while in Kuwait, violators get a three-month jail term and a fine of $15,000, or P750,000.
Here, it is mandatory for everybody to wear face masks outside our homes with some cities even offering them for free. But no one is arrested or penalized for violating this basic rule for COVID-19 prevention, giving some the impression that the government is not serious about dealing with this health emergency.
I am suggesting that in the next 12 days, all local government units (LGUs) should take the lead in the strict implementation of the rules on social distancing and the wearing of face masks. There should be serious penalties for violators.
Why is the government giving out cash assistance to 23 million households with almost 90 million people if they cannot be disciplined and be made to comply with regulations to stop COVID-19?
Actually, the government has been paying people to stay put inside their homes to slow down the spread of the disease. But others probably think differently.
Maybe the LGUs can remove the names of violators from the list of beneficiaries or limit the amount of cash assistance or relief goods they will receive.
Makati has given P5,000 in cash assistance to each qualified Makatizen, Quezon City has allotted P4,000 per family which did not qualify for the social amelioration program, while Manila gave out P2,000 each to 607,000 families. Of course, other cities also distributed assistance to their constituents.
If LGUs can identify their pasaway, or hardheaded families and disqualify them from receiving aid, chaos will not stand in the way of the government’s campaign to stop the spread of COVID-19.
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