It was very difficult to watch the President’s address last Monday night as he gave his status report to Congress and, more importantly, to our people.
He was obviously at a loss for words as he tried to emphasize and explain, from the heart, how dire our country’s situation is. Even his adlibs, which would usually perk up his speeches, seemed dour.
After the address, a friend of mine commented on Facebook saying “Parang ang lungkot nya” to which I immediately responded, “Kung ikaw ba naman ang Presidente tapos ganyan ang prublema with limited resources, di ka kaya malungkot, meron pa mga pabadlong, Samot!”
I hope people will appreciate that the President was being frank and forthright about the real situation. He did not mince words by admitting the fact that our resources, particularly the available funds, are very limited and would probably last only around two months and that would be stretching it. He made his priorities clear, “UNAHIN ANG TIYAN”, food for the poorest of the poor. Unlike most politicians willing to promise the heavens, the President was not even willing to commit to providing food aid to middle-class citizens although he said that they would see what could be done.
He even openly asked for the help of the private sector for help and jokingly, well it seemed a joke that may be a bit serious, said that he would already be willing to sell the entirety of Dewey Boulevard if he could get rice for it and he remarked that he had previously denied any reclamation in the area due to environmental concerns.
Just to put an exclamation point on it, he openly admitted that the government is desperate and that he is also desperate in trying to find ways and means to ensure the survival of our country and our people.
To put this in perspective, our government prepared around P217 billion for the fight against Covid-19. That seems much but it is not really a lot considering that we are talking about a lockdown of a population of over 100 Million. As the President said this is very limited, “ang tubig muhubas” he said in the local parlance.
In comparison, according to CNN, Prime Minister Abe of Japan is about to declare a national state of emergency and their government prepared 1 Trillion U.S. Dollars for their anti-corona virus stimulus package which is around 233 times our country’s budget for this.
There you have it, the bottom line. Unlike rich countries, we do not have the resources to fight the Covid-19 disease with a prolonged lockdown so we have to do it right, and we have to be successful in containing the virus, the first time around.
During his entire address, the President kept repeating the same message “STAY AT HOME” as this is the only way to stop, or at least contain, the spread of the virus.
Really, the success or failure of this fight is dependent on one single thing, COOPERATION.
WE HEAL AS ONE OR WE ALL DIE TOGETHER.
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