We did it. We’ve lived through 100 days of quarantine. 101, to be precise because yesterday marked the lockdown’s 100th day. Though we still have no idea when this is all going to end, let’s take a walk down memory lane and take a look at the most notable highs and lows from this
seemingly neverending emotional rollercoaster.
The past 100 days didn’t fly by like a breeze. We were acutely aware of every single day spent in quarantine, navigating our sanity while issue after issue flung our way. You know what they say, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. And as survivors of these H8est moments of the past 100 days, we’ve proven that statement true.
8. When our Meralco bills skyrocketed like the COVID victim count in the Philippines
So @meralco taking advantage of people during a pandemic. Crazy! Charging people 5 times of what their usual bill is. You should be ashamed of the way y’all are doing business! A lot of people haven’t been paid in months how will they afford to pay this overpriced bill?
— Chris Ross (@cmross6) June 19, 2020
The modern definition of a heart attack trigger is peeking at your Meralco bill and finding out that it’s three times what you normally pay for. It’s kinda like that feeling of overwhelming dread you get when you watch the news in the evening and see the coronavirus toll double in a span of a few days. Even the government’s cash aid (if any) can’t pay for the entire bill in full. But hey, if it helps, Meralco says you can pay for your bill in installments. No, they won’t re-calculate, but we get installments. Wow. Thanks, I guess.
7. When The Anti-Terror Bill came like a thief in the night
How ironic that something called the “Anti-Terror Bill” feels like the very opposite of peace. The bill had three readings in three days whereas usually, the same process would takes the government months or even years. In response, the people plastered #JunkTerrorBill all over social media, and celebrities even spoke out about it.
Look, an anti-terror law is “for the protection of the people,” we get it, but the government does not exactly have a stellar track record of not abusing laws. This bill has loose definitions of what a “terrorist” is and it will open the doors to more warrantless arrests. Also, this timing is suspect; we’ve got bigger fish to fry (i.e. mass testing, providing for the marginalized, and surviving this pandemic).
6. When government officials showed us that there were exceptions to the rules
These officials get to keep their jobs and walk free while people like the PISTON 6, jeepney drivers who were detained for protesting the loss of their jobs, are oppressed. There are clear exceptions to the rule but it’s the higher-ups who decide.
5. When problematic folks on the internet made us cringe
Can someone educate DJ Loonyo what mass testing is? He’s spreading misinformation about it and instilling fears among his followers.
— Coach Clarke (@CoachClarkiee) June 2, 2020
During the early days of quarantine, some social media influencers experienced the internet’s unforgiving cancel culture. Cat Arambulo called the underprivileged Filipinos “You mother*uckers” on her Instagram story, Brianna Rubia had the audacity to tell people that rioting never helped anyone, and some celebrities thought that the coronavirus is a “blessing.”
More recently internet personality DJ Loonyo was put on the spotlight when he boldly claimed he did not believe in mass testing. His misinformed conversation during a Facebook live irked thousands and became a lesson for everyone: if you don’t know enough about a topic, it’s okay to shut up.
We tried forgetting Sam Morales and her disgusting pastime of catfishing and harming members of the LGBT+ community but we just can’t. And maybe we shouldn’t because we have to remember what she did in order to be a better person than her.
We seriously hope there will be no more people that will make us cringe in the future.
4. When ABS-CBN was forced to go off the air
On May 5, the Philippines’ largest media network went off the air after the National Telecommunications Commission issued its cease and desist order. Since then, it has been a long and winding road of hearings upon hearings. The hashtags #NoToABSCBNShutDown and #DefendPressFreedom trended for days. Nobody seems to want to grant ABS-CBN another franchise (we wonder why). Thousands of jobs are at stake and the thousands of Filipinos relying on ABS-CBN’s programs are left hanging. We’ve yet to see the end of all of this.
3. When police around the world abused their power
When the police mercilessly took 46-year-old George Floyd’s life, the entire world responded in anger. What followed next was a series of hundreds of protests across the West supporting the #BlackLivesMatter movement. Police brutality and racism have always been present and it’s encouraging to see how people have had enough and will not stand by anymore.
In the Philippines, we’ve got our own brand of police brutality to deal with. Remember Kian Delos Santos, the 17-year-old murdered in 2017 and accused of being a drug runner? More recently, remember Winston Ragos?
2. When online trolls proliferated all over the internet
A few weeks ago saw hundreds of Filipinos complaining about trolls creating multiple dummy social media accounts in their names. Those who were more vocal about criticizing the government even had to deal with online harassment from their namesake dummy account. Thanks to good Facebook friends, many of the accounts were reported and taken down, but we know that isn’t the end of it.
Online trolls will never make social media a peaceful place and they probably have doubled in number (and in obnoxiousness) due to the quarantine. They’re a nuisance but remember, the key to defeating them is starving them.
1. When traditional jeepneys were banned from the road
It has been 100 days of no jobs and no income for thousands of jeepney drivers in Luzon. They aren’t given cash aid and most of them are left to fend for themselves. Some have taken to beg food and supplies from motorists on the streets and almost all of them are left to sleep with hungry stomachs. Although there are organizations extending a helping hand, we’re still waiting for the government to allow these drivers back on the road.
If the modernized PUVs are allowed to operate, why can’t they? Fortunately, the backlash to the ban hasn’t fallen on deaf ears; next week, the LTFRB will allow traditional jeepneys to operate once again.
If you want to donate for them in cash or in kind, you can contact the transport group Piston through their Facebook page for ways to help.
Now that we’ve run through the worst of the 100 days of the lockdown, let’s end on a high note. Here are the moments from the quarantine that have helped us hold onto hope.
8. When we gave the earth a break
By now, most of us know better than to romanticize how tH3 EaRtH i$ HeALiNG, but nobody can dispute the fact that the air is a lot clearer, wildlife is flourishing, and nature just seems a lot healthier now that humans are holed up indoors. Here’s hoping that this serves as a wake-up call for us to treat the earth when (yes, when) all this is over.
7. When we discovered the wonders of dalgona coffee/sourdough bread/sushi bake/etc
Boredom does things to people. While some of us may have never spent more than a handful of hours in the kitchen at one time, being holed up at home has unlocked culinary skills. From banana bread to dalgona coffee to sushi bakes, our culinary creations are leveling up with each new food trend.
6. When Animal Crossing pulled us through the darkest days
Nintendo couldn’t have released Animal Crossing: New Horizons at a more opportune time. Released on March 20, less than a week after ECQ started. Because of supply issues, Nintendo Switch prices skyrocketed to ridiculous levels all over the world, but that didn’t stop Pinoys from scrambling to get their hands on a console and turn to Animal Crossing to
escape from the harsh realities of the world relax and have socially-distanced fun with friends.
5. When women refused to take sh*t from the patriarchy
– rape culture is real and a product of this precise line of thinking, where the behavior is normalized, particularly by men.
– the way anyone dresses should not be deemed as ‘opportunity’ to sexually assault them. ever.
– calling me hija will not belittle my point. https://t.co/bLbtEDVGBn
— tw: #HijaAko content !! (@kakiep83) June 14, 2020
A few weeks ago, one police station in Lucban published a social media post cautioning women to avoid wearing provocative clothing to avoid being sexually assaulted. The public quickly called them out for victim blaming, which makes sense, because that’s exactly what they were doing. When Frankie Pangilinan chimed in, a certain Ben Tulfo doubled down on the problematic messaging, saying, “Sexy ladies, careful with the way you dress up! You are inviting the beast.”
Frankie wasn’t having any of that. Because of the way she fired back at Tulfo, the hashtag #HijaAko trended on Twitter. Survivors of sexual abuse are coming forward to tell their stories and prove that it’s never about what you wear, rape exists because there are rapists.
Note that Frankie is just 19 years old. If there are more Filipino Zoomers out there like her, then the kids are alright, indeed.
4. When competent servant-leaders gave us hope
Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto has consistently been a voice of reason throughout this ordeal. He looks for solutions outside the box and listens to experts and his constituents. He’s performed so well that the internet has even turned him into a K-pop idol.
But it’s important to note that Vico’s not alone. Many local government officials have stepped up to the challenge of keeping their constituents safe and healthy during this crisis. If you’re one of the lucky ones who have local leaders like these, consider yourselves lucky and show your appreciation
3. When the private sector stepped up their game to help
In times of crisis, Filipinos never fail to show that the bayanihan spirit is still very much alive. From the start of the crisis, we’ve seen private companies donating millions of pesos to frontliners and vulnerable communities. But it’s not just the huge corporations who are making a difference; ordinary citizens have also been pooling their resources to pitch in. Though this is one of the longest-running crises we’ve ever had to face as a nation, let’s not grow tired of helping each other out.
2. When Filipino scientists came through with their innovations
The Philippines may be a third-world country, and our scientists may not exactly have the funding they need to do their work, but they’re still excelling and delivering. UP scientists developed a more affordable rapid testing kit. Researchers from Mindanao State University have designed a cost-effective disinfection cabin. Engineers from Ateneo de Manila have developed an app to help the Department of Health predict the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Philippines. Chin up, we’ve got the brains and the talent to make it out of here.
1. When dissenters made it clear that they wouldn’t be silenced
📷 : Anjo Lapresca on FB
📍 UP Diliman pic.twitter.com/NSyAd9PuF2
— #헹가래 #Left_n_Right (@two_oh_teen) June 4, 2020
Not everyone will agree with us here, but we believe that voicing out your opinions and pointing out the errors of the powers-that-be is vital to progress. We need to listen to each other to call attention to our blind spots and fix whatever it is that needs to be remedied. Though Filipinos are now feeling pressured to stay silent, many are refusing to back down. May we always stand up for what is right.
What would you include in your personal Quarantine Gr8est and H8est List?