Opposite effect

Published August 12, 2020, 10:58 PM

by Jullie Y. Daza

MEDIUM RARE

Jullie Yap Daza
Jullie Y. Daza

After every Tom, Dick, and Harry reviewed the President’s State of the Nation Address, now I can share my biggest disappointment. I was waiting for him to show us how many barangay officials he had caught with their fingers in the cookie jar, which would then have caused him to strip them naked for display in Malacañang Park.

Not that I’d enjoy the ugh! sight, but that was the warning he aired during the early days of the NCR lockdown. Since then, 50 barangay captains have been charged and about 1,000 others, including those of lower rank, are under investigation for fiddling with SAP funds (disbursing them to their relatives and favored persons, such as themselves), what Digong calls petty corruption.

In the time of coronavirus, how is splitting a SAP allowance of ₱6,000 different from stealing ₱20 billion from PhilHealth? Depends on the lawyer you can afford.

Crime and punishment, crisis and penalties – what’s your IQ? Not intelligence quotient but I’m Q-rious: What’s your take on the Indefinite/Infinite Quarantine?

Ironic that when we are told to wash hands, wear mask, keep distance, stay home, those simple tasks are so easily turned into odious challenges. (Ironic that the hard-headed are not necessarily the ones to account for their sins.) On a higher plane, it’s ironic that when IATF authors a law, the very same law can produce the opposite effect. SAP beneficiaries on the verge of falling ill, crowding without physical distancing from 3 a.m. to 3 p.m. waiting for cash – how quickly the remittance center runs out in the middle of the day. A mother weeps, she has no money to make a return trip tomorrow. An old man collapses and dies doing just that, waiting.

Maskless vagrants, gamblers, drinkers, packed shoulder to shoulder into vans with their police escorts, an open invitation to COVID-19. Whoever invented the LSI phenomenon did not foresee them popping up in massive numbers at the airport, Luneta, Baclaran, Rizal Memorial – sick, hungry, about to give birth, who knew if they were spreaders? As for staying home… Home is worse than the great outdoors under the trees and stars when 10 people are squeezed into one room without windows and a toilet.

 
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