Stressing the elderly, jailing quarantine violators in cramped cells will worsen COVID spread: Pangilinan

April 30, 2020

“Our emergency situation now is about health. All proposed and enforced measures should answer ‘yes’ to the following questions: Mahihinto o mapapabagal ba nito ang pagkalat ng COVID? Makakabuti ba ito sa kalusugan ng mga mamamayan at ng buong pamayanan?

That’s why on the guidelines concerning our senior citizens, nananawagan tayo sa IATF na bigyan ang lahat ng senior ng financial aid sa ilalim ng Bayanihan social amelioration program, kahit na yung nakakatanggap ng SSS or GSIS pensions o may mga nagtatrabahong anak.

According to SSS and GSIS 2018 data, 3 out of 4 SSS pensioners and less than 1 of 4 get P5,000 and below in pension. The Coalition of Services of the Elderly and Senior Citizens’ Organizations Nationwide say most pensioners continue to work after retirement to augment their meager pensions. With the lockdown, most of their working children have stopped earning livelihood. 

On the arrest and detention of 120,000 who have violated community quarantine and non-use of facial mask, we suggest that:

1. Turuan sila ng mga angkop na health protocols sa physical distancing at bigyan sila ng facial masks.

This will also prepare everyone (both the quarantined and the quarantine enforcers) when the quarantine is lifted because these health protocols and accessories will be part of the new normal.

2. Siguruhin ang physical distancing sa lahat ng city jails at madaliang i-decongest ang mga ito. Start with the release of those who have committed minor offenses but could not post bail because they are poor, and those who have served more time than their possible sentence because the justice system moves criminally slow.

Recent news reports said that 185 in Cebu City Jail, nine in notoriously teeming Quezon City Jail, at one in Mandaue City Jail tested positive for COVID. Two detainees died of COVID in Women’s Correctional, where 18 other detainees at one Correctional staff tested positive of the virus.

3. Quarantine enforcers who indiscriminately, needlessly, and wantonly use violence must be punished. They include those who beat up the fish vendor in Quezon City.

Huling araw ng Abril at mahigit 40 araw na tayong nasa ilalim ng quarantine. Kailangang holistic o big picture ang pagtingin sa pagsugpo ng sakit.

Magdamayan tayo, huwag magtakutan. Fear leads to stress leads to compromised immune system leads to vulnerability to COVID leads to a high curve, not flat.