[OPINION] ‘Ano bang ambag mo?’: An ethical dilemma in the middle of a pandemic

JC Gotinga
[OPINION] ‘Ano bang ambag mo?’: An ethical dilemma in the middle of a pandemic
'Being passive, insensitive, and ignorant has no positive contribution to this crisis'

It’s just been a week since Duterte put the entire Luzon under enhanced community quarantine, and we can already see the repercussions of this executive decision. It’s crazy to think that some of us have the privilege of staying home, scrolling through social media or watching series we’ve missed. To think that people are dying out there and our frontliners are risking their lives; it makes sense to feel guilty about doing nothing.

But we are unknowingly doing something that helps us in this crisis. 

This is not a calamity where we can physically connect with people to help them. Indeed, it’s the other way around: you have to avoid people in order to hopefully save them from COVID-19.

While our frontliners are doing their jobs as best as they can, we do not have to go out there and risk our lives because we feel guilty about doing nothing. Isolating ourselves is the least that we can do.

But of course, it’s not the only thing we can do.

Besides staying home and washing our hands, sharing factual information and calling out the incompetence of the government and the insenstivity of certain social media personalities are just some of the things we can do in order to help fight this pandemic. 

So how does ranting and calling out incompetence and insensitivity on social media actually contribute? The more we do so, the more we compel our government and other institutions to take immediate action. We must not settle for bare-minimum policies and orders, because this is a matter of life and death.

And what if we refuse to do these things?

It all starts with the question: Ano bang ambag mo?

As if gaslighting fellow citizens just because they choose to criticize the government will actually count as a contribution. As if cursing our workers who have no choice but to walk to their jobs will address our national health emergency. As if downplaying our situation and comparing this pandemic to our grandfathers’ war enlistment will kill the virus. Being passive, insensitive, and ignorant has no positive contribution to this crisis. (READ: [OPINION] ‘Pasaway’ commuters amid lockdown? These people don’t have a choice)

It’s painful to see the adage “the Philippines doesn’t have the worst government; it has the worst citizens” circulating online. It’s hard to decipher how people can still turn a blind eye when years of corruption, incompetence, and selfishness is being brought to the fore by this pandemic.

This is more than just a health crisis – we are suffering from a lack of efficient public transportation, employment security and benefits, poverty alleviation assistance, and many more socio-economic needs. Our countrymen can follow orders, but they should also have safety nets to protect them.

This is the time to be on the right side of the dilemma, and fight the oppressive system that divides the Filipino people. – Rappler.com

Christian Ralf Dugan aims to be a photojournalist. He tells stories on the human condition and social structures. 

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JC Gotinga

JC Gotinga often reports about the West Philippine Sea, the communist insurgency, and terrorism as he covers national defense and security for Rappler. He enjoys telling stories about his hometown, Pasig City. JC has worked with Al Jazeera, CNN Philippines, News5, and CBN Asia.