This is our year into the pandemic, same failed military response and same failed messaging in addressing all the problems brought about by an incompetent leadership. Where other countries are in different levels of opening their countries as a result of effective humane response to the pandemic, we are even in worse condition than where we were last year. With lower GDP, higher debts, very high unemployment, thousands more positive cases per day (March 15 number of 5,404 new cases is 4th highest daily number and all-time high in last 7 months), and still without science-based, humane, and progressively-crafted protocols in addressing the COVID-19 crisis in the country, the Philippines is drowning deeper in the worsening first wave.

The government used scientific terms loosely to project an image that science informs their decision-making process. Remember how government officials used the term “flattening the curve” erroneously in media briefings. There never was a day when the country records zero case with the reproduction number hovering above 1.0 and recently at a very alarming 1.3 and has been increasing above 1.0 for weeks [1]. Positivity rate is above 10% for at least a week now [2]. Yet DOH and Malacañang officials proudly said many times that we have flattened the curve.

The slight lowering of daily cases since the peak in August 2020 does not comfort us as the numbers are still in thousands daily. It seems the DOH would like us to ignore that problems in basic epidemiological methodologies like contact tracing and testing were never solved. Problems in data collection, validation, and reporting remain as reflected in the backlogs (now more than 60,000) in the reported number compared to the total number from the laboratories.

The ICU occupancy (47% as of March 15) is increasing for a month already [3]. The same trend can be observed in mechanical ventilators (27%), isolation bed (39%), and bed ward (31%) occupancies. In fact, many hospitals have already hit full bed capacity for COVID-19 cases [4]. Reported COVID-19 deaths are almost 13,000 while it is highly likely that many more deaths continue to be unreported. Non-COVID-19 deaths resulting from adjustments in hospital policies due to the pandemic must also be accounted for but are not reported by DOH.

When vaccines were dangled in addressing the pandemic, it is to push an agenda rather than to complement a healthcare system that is breaking down. With the target vaccinated population of 70 million supposedly to achieve herd immunity, 229,000 Filipinos must be vaccinated daily until December 31 this year. Based on March 15 statistics, the vaccination rate is at 23,466 daily [5]. At this rate, we don’t expect this pandemic to die out soon. Instead of ramping up vaccination and massive education to explain to Filipinos basic concepts such as herd immunity and vaccination, more repressive militarist measures have been imposed.

A year into a pandemic, nothing has changed. Just the same narrative and rhetoric of an inutile, negligent, and failure of a regime. A year into a pandemic the regime still fails to do mass testing, effective contact tracing, and other fundamental solutions to a medical problem that negatively affected our country socioeconomically.

For a fascist and inutile regime, recycling stops at reusing wastes; wastes in the form of policies that fail to address a medical problem, key people in positions of power without the capacity to formulate appropriate response to the pandemic, narratives and rhetorics that only highlight their incompetence. Rather than the necessary fundamental strengthening of our healthcare system, the Duterte administration’s addiction to militarist approach can never solve a public health crisis.

A year into the pandemic and we were never in a better position in addressing the pandemic. The only way out in this mess is a united people’s movement to throw garbage corrupt officials away and place competent and pro-people individuals at the helm of the country’s pandemic response.#


[1] Peter Julian Cayton, Jan Gil Sarmiento, Trixie Delmendo, Compendium of Philippine COVID-19 Statistics as of March 14, 2021, Volume I: Island Groups, Regions, and Provinces.

[2] Edson Guido, March 16 4:04 PM tweet.

[3] Jomar Rabajante, Philippine COVID-19 Case Information Dashboard.

[4] Dona Z. Pazzibugan, Gov’t says no lockdown even as hospitals start hitting full capacity, Philippine Daily Inquirer, March 16, 2021.

[5] Edson Guido, March 16 2:58 PM tweet.


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