[OPINION] Solusyong medikal, hindi aksyong militar

[OPINION] Solusyong medikal, hindi aksyong militar
'We need information, not force. We need medical and financial support, not guns.'

I am a med student, and I don’t understand why a lot of people think we want healthcare workers to literally replace the military manning the checkpoints. 

The call for #SolusyongMedikalHindiAksyongMilitar is a call for adequate medical support. The COVID-19 pandemic is, after all, a health crisis. What we need is free, accessible healthcare for all.

We need enough funding for the mass production of the UP-developed COVID-19 test kits; free massive testing; free masks, soaps, alcohol, and medicines; mass sterilization of schools and other public places; more healthcare workers deployed especially to far-flung communities to detect infections as early as possible and to decongest hospitals; increased budget for our hospitals and emergency response teams; and enough medical supplies for our medical frontliners who risk their lives every day, without them having to beg for donations.

And yet, we are met with thousands of policemen and soldiers armed with rifles – many of whom have no PPEs and thermal scanners, are lenient on the enforcement of social distancing, are unaware of what their protocol is if ever they encounter an individual suspected of being infected, and are unaccompanied by barangay healthcare workers. (READ: Duterte places Luzon on lockdown to battle coronavirus)

The call for #SolusyongMedikalHindiAksyongMilitar is a call for adequate economic aid. In any crisis, it is always the poor that are most severely affected. The farmers. The contractual workers. The jeepney drivers. Those who can’t work from home. Those who don’t even have homes. Those who only have enough money to get through the day, not for stocking up on food and medical supplies. Those who can’t afford to self-quarantine or be admitted into a hospital and risk leaving their families to starve. Those who don’t even have the means to go to the nearest hospital or health center.

What we need are food, clean water, shelter, and other services for those displaced by the “community quarantine.” We need a reliable water supply. We need the prices of basic commodities to be frozen. We need subsidies for the workers who have now been deprived of their only source of income. Pero ano? Okay lang kasi wala naman daw namamatay sa gutom, sabi ni Panelo?

The call for #SolusyongMedikalHindiAksyongMilitar is a call for informed rule. We need a clear and comprehensive nationwide information drive to explain how to protect one’s self and others who are more vulnerable at a time like this, and to alleviate mass panic and hoarding of supplies. We need more scientists and health professionals in charge, instead of an incompetent politician whose knee-jerk reaction to a public health crisis is to call on his troops and threaten with arrest those who don’t comply. We need a leader who acts like one – who doesn’t act based on his own personal interests; who has concrete plans backed by science and data; and who recognizes and gives credit to the real heroes of this story, instead of feeding the egos of his best friend and his master.

The call for #SolusyongMedikalHindiAksyongMilitar is a call for accountability. After proposing to slash P10 billion off our national budget for health and allocating this to intelligence funds and “confidential” funds instead; after donating $1.4 million worth of masks to China when our own country was in need; after repeatedly refusing to impose a travel ban from mainland China as a precautionary measure in the name of “diplomacy;” we ask – who does this administration really serve?

We need information, not force. We need medical and financial support, not guns.

Enforcement of a “lockdown” must go hand in hand with the necessary health and economic measures. Otherwise, it’s just another disaster waiting to happen.

Again, solusyong medikal, hindi aksyong militar! – Rappler.com

Lorielle Ann “Lala” Aquino is a Philippine Science High School (PSHS) and University of the Philippines (UP) alumna. She is currently taking up Medicine.

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