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#TalkOnTW: Isko’s Liquor Ban near schools in Manila

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DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect that of TomasinoWeb, its members, its officers, and the University.

Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso signed an executive order on Thursday, July 25, mandating strict implementation of city ordinances prohibiting the selling of alcoholic beverages within the 200-meter range of schools and universities in Manila. The regulation immediately took effect upon issuance.

Executive Order No. 17 mandates the Bureau of Permits and License Office (BPLO), City Treasurer’s Office, and business establishments to strictly observe Ordinance No. 8520 and Ordinance No. 3532, with the former pertaining to the prohibiting of selling intoxicating liquor to minors in “any store, mall, bar, restaurant, eatery or any commercial establishment in Manila” and the latter pertaining to the prohibiting of selling liquor in said establishments located within the 200-meter radius of learning institutions, such as schools and universities.

With the resumption of classes slowly approaching the calendar, TomasinoWeb launched an online discussion regarding the recently signed regulation. The following are the thoughts of the students on the issue:

Manila Mayor Isko Moreno also joined the discussion:

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#TalkOnTW: Netizens react on the administration’s efficiency in handling COVID-19

“They had the chance to prevent the crisis from escalating further but no, their priority is misplaced somewhere else and not with their constituents. No would be an understatement.”

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Photo courtesy of The Summit Express

Netizens are on another level of frustration upon hearing President Duterte’s nation address last Monday, April 6, 2020. 

It has been two weeks since the Congress granted the President with temporary emergency powers to manage the ongoing COVID-19 crisis in the Philippines. Everyone was expecting that in the president’s second weekly report, he would clarify not only the details regarding the distribution of the emergency cash aid to low-income families, but also some other steps on handling the crisis. The productivity of his plans, however, was questioned by the people who actually took time to listen and exhaust the information from his usual tirade-filled speech. 

On the same night, TomasinoWeb’s #TalkOnTW series launched an online discussion on the efficiency of the administration’s health crisis master plan. Here are a few of the noteworthy opinions of Twitter netizens: 

“I don’t think so. Pag sinabi kasing efficiently something that is with competence eh. Pero ayun wala pa ring concrete plans. Sobrang scattered lahat. Maybe they’re trying pero hanggang kelan na ganito??” 

“Absolutely not. The most important questions have never been answered until now. Where’s the gov’t aid? What happened sa P276B? Why is everything delayed? Para saan pa yung extension ng ECQ kung hindi rin naman naha-handle nang mabuti yung sitwasyon.”

“They had the chance to prevent the crisis from escalating further but no their priority is misplaced somewhere else and not with their constituents. No would be an understatement.”

“obviously not, ilang address na ba ang binigay nya na halos wala tayong mapigang sagot mula sa kanya? pahirapan lahat. tapos ano? sa dulo, tayo ang kawawa. health crisis ang issue, bakit taliwas doon ang kanyang pinagsasabi. tama ba yun.” 

“This could’ve been prevented in the first place if they have banned China travelers. No. There is no sense of urgency for the Filipinos who need it the most.”

“To be honest, “no” is an understatement. This administration is consistent on one thing and one thing only: incompetence.”

Even with the passage of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act or the RA 11469, the essence of “bayanihan” can hardly be seen within the people governing the country. With the increasing number of COVID-related cases and deaths, some still had the time to consider this pandemic as a “competition.” Twitter user @timothy_casuga sees the need for unity during this crisis: 

“Absolutely not, if the government is working together, combined forces, instead of wars and [political] issues, we would move on with this health crisis, if not solved, more people would be affected. We need unity, not the issues rising from every person from the government.” 

The newest strain of the coronavirus has forced our citizens to face the fear of the unknown and to open questions about what will kill them first: the virus, the hunger, or the mismanagement of the government in combating the pandemic. Frankly, no one was ever ready to face this health crisis, but the lack of concrete plans of the government has once again questioned the capability and competence of our leaders. 

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#TalkOnTW: Students react to President Duterte’s recent media address

“Lethal force is not the answer neither is striking fear to the people. There are better ways but for some odd reason you fail to see even one. You basically condemned the Filipino people to their deaths at the hands of your soldiers and the virus.”

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Photo courtesy of Interaksyon

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect that of TomasinoWeb, its members, its officers, and the University.

It’s almost two and a half weeks since President Rodrigo Roa Duterte imposed a quarantine on the National Capital Region following the entirety of Luzon. Ever since then, citizens were restricted from going outside their homes, giving only a few to go out to buy necessities to get by the following days. The enhanced community quarantine came along with numerous checkpoints and military personnel to instill discipline to the communities they were deployed to. Despite the enhanced community quarantine, the country’s frontliners – the doctors, nurses, store attendants, and journalists – continue to pave the way despite the struggles in the country today.

Ever since the Bayanihan to Heal Act as One Act (RA 11469) was signed by President Duterte, the country was placed under a state of emergency for three months unless extended. In this law, the president was granted to distribute P5,000 to P8,000 pesos in cash aid to low-income families, a special risk allowance to health workers, and to allow the president “to exercise powers necessary and proper to carry out a declared national policy”, and more.

Last night at 9:43PM, the president addressed the nation once more to reiterate the threats faced by the country today. With this, TomasinoWeb initiated a discussion that asks the peoples’ thoughts on his most recent media address.

One of the main highlights of the president’s media address was the threats that were posed towards the left. Many were angered towards his threats by ordering authorities to detain those who cause chaos and riots. Moreover, his address was observed to contain intimidation and fear towards the common people. Twitter users @tljdwln, @MigeruTagaki, @angelwithaliner, and @jayzielkhim share their thoughts towards the threats of the president. 

Nagulat ka na kasi biglaang presscon, nagalit ka pa kasi puro pagbabanta at karahasan yung lumalabas sa bibig nya”

The country is already in a pandemic then you would just say you will kill people who wouldn’t cooperate? Heartless and disgusting attitude. They are the less fortunate that is why they are like this. We should be helping them not killing them or arresting them…”

Kung gusto niyang mabigyan tayo ng reassurance, give factual reports. Saan napupunta ang budget, pwede na ba ang mass testing, ano na ang nangyari sa donasyon, atbp. Hindi natin kailangan ng ‘urgent’ press con kung pagbabanta lang pala ang sasabihin.”

kapag sa patayan napakabilis gumalaw ng gobyernong ‘to pero kapag pangangailangan ng mamamayan ayan naghuhulaan pa kung anong dapat gawin”

In his 12-minute speech, President Rodrigo Duterte failed to address what the people have been waiting for – updates and actions to be done in light of the pandemic. Twitter user @d_dddana mentioned that his speech instead contained reprimands without offering solutions towards the problem on-hand. 

“Nagulat ka na kasi biglaang presscon, nagalit ka pa kasi puro pagbabanta at karahasan yung lumalabas sa bibig nya”

Additionally, Twitter user @yopokkiseu mentioned that none of the press conferences actually served its purpose to brief and address the problems faced by the country in light of the pandemic.

“None the presscons showed any hint of handling the contagion with coordinated efforts to address the problems wt food security, public, mobility, jobs, medical services among the poorest, and to the concern of all, mass testing and lack of PPEs and funding for frontliners”

This is not the first time that the public has voiced out their opinions regarding the president’s leadership in this state of emergency. Twitter users @tipsyd_ei and @jolofernando have pointed out his incompetence and the use of threats as a compensation to show his power and might.

His words are loud and threatening but they contain empty concrete plans for the pandemic. He is simply INCOMPETENT. He can NEVER silence the people.#OUSTDUTERTENOW

This isnt about the pandemic anymore hes trying to silence the people from protesting his incompetent governance”

President Duterte’s leadership performance was also highlighted by netizens, expressing their frustration towards his neglect and his response to the struggles the country is facing today. For Twitter user @Barsieee, he said that the president does not care about his people especially the frontliners as evident with the blatant verbal harassment of those who are unsatisfied with his rule.

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Opinion

Social distancing’s more than one meter

There is something almost sacred about Duterte’s absolutism: his iron-fisted governance must be upheld at all costs because blind subservience to his authority is the only way to survive.

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According to the World Health Organization (WHO), it is recommended to maintain a meter of distance from someone who’s coughing or sneezing. We call this social distancing. Alongside other safety measures, we do this to prevent ourselves from contracting the new coronavirus.

However, social distancing kills the ordinary Filipino; it breathes life to the greedy and the unjust at the expense of our lives.

A picture of a barangay captain beside a dog cage filled with curfew violators circulated on the Internet a few days ago. Although it is already gruesome at first sight, the existence of the coronavirus pandemic makes the picture look worse. Another set of curfew violators are bound to be seated on monoblock chairs under the heat of the sun. If coronavirus won’t kill you in that scenario, heatstroke will.

How about jail cells filled with prisoners? Given the situation of prisons and correctional institutions, there’s no way wardens and prisoners could survive the pandemic. How about public hospitals full of patients waiting to be tested? How about our ate and kuya GrabFood drivers who courageously go back and forth just to deliver that Jollibee Burger Steak you ordered yesterday?

Meanwhile, various government officials are being tested despite the majority of them showing no signs of symptoms. Some celebrities and social media influencers are treating the pandemic as a way to “reconnect with nature” and to “spread good vibes”. Those people we are supposed to look up to are reaping the benefits of their privilege while being detached from the struggle of the majority.

This is another manifestation of social distancing—a barrier of apathy that divides the fortunate and the damned. 

When President Duterte declared the enhanced community quarantine, an obvious disregard for a pro-people provision was evident. Those who are bound to lose jobs due to the quarantine are left empty-handed in their homes. Health workers are reporting shortages in personal protective equipment, only to be “debunked” by House Speaker Cayetano as fake news. We lack assurance from the national government because they are disconnected from the people who elected them in their respective posts. 

Moreover, Duterte’s request for emergency powers is a decision worthy of scrutiny from us. Despite being approved by the Congress and the Senate, the ‘Bayanihan’ bill raises a lot of questions due to his track record of inefficiency. We have seen him handle the Marawi crisis through a three-year martial law in Mindanao, but peace and order in that region remain unsolved. How sure are we that Duterte’s newly granted powers can save us?

This is a cycle in Duterte’s governance. When all else fails, he seeks absolute power to provide a solution. Instead of governing through a progressive social praxis, he alienates his constituents away from the government. His draconian approaches are a result of his apathy; his failure to empathize makes him demand obedience without question instead. His privilege has blinded him to become an effective leader during this crisis.

Despite being devoid of social analysis and empathy, Duterte finds himself surrounded with an unrealistic mob of supporters on the Internet. Even a number of your relatives are still fixated with his junta-like leadership. Probably it is due to his “strongman image”— a continuous showcase of dominance. By aligning himself with the gods, he consolidates a near-absolute power in today’s era, where the divine right of kings is far from a legitimate doctrine. 

The current administration is a false religion of its own. Duterte and his lapdogs can’t hear our prayers. No matter how far-fetched the solution, you are required to obey. There is something almost sacred about Duterte’s absolutism: his iron-fisted governance must be upheld at all costs because blind subservience to his authority is the only way to survive.

But even unwavering obedience can’t exempt the masses from suffering. One test kit wasted from a VIP is one test kit deprived from a person under investigation. Your fanaticism to Duterte’s antics won’t help you reach that ten-kilometer grocery due to the cancellation of public transportation services.

While it is not your fault that you are spending the quarantine binge-watching Netflix series, we become contributory to the oppression when we fail to recognize that not everyone is as financially secure as we are. By failing to acknowledge the root cause of the problems plaguing our society, we become enablers of the status quo. Recognizing our part in the greater scheme of things is always a good step, to begin with.

Even before the coronavirus pandemic, social distancing has remained a fixed variable in the context of the Philippine society—the ever-growing disparity between the rich and the poor makes the former thrive while the latter succumbs into hopelessness. 

However, the revolutionary Filipino spirit remains a nightmare in the fantasies of the elite. If criticism and dissent are heresy to Duterte’s religion, then we are unbelievers cast away from their “salvation”. However, no cult can deliver salvation. Only the masses can genuinely dictate their own fate.

The masses giveth and the masses taketh away.

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