President Rodrigo Roa Duterte (file photo).
By Tracy Cabrera
CALOOCAN CITY, METRO MANILA — Filipino Catholics criticized President Rodrigo Duterte’s Easter message—citing that Duterte’s administration was a failure in containing the coronavirus pandemic and this due to the president’s lack of faith in God’s mercy.
In his Sunday virtual pronouncement, the former Davao City mayor described Easter as “a time of hope during the pandemic.”
“We are joined together in the spirit of victory through the resurrection of Christ. The glory of Easter gives us all a profound message of hope in the midst of suffering and assurance of triumph over adversity,” the chief executive added.
But Pinoy churchgoers who attended Easter mass in Baclaran church said, “(Duterte’s) efforts so far in tackling Covid-19 leaves a lot to be desired.”
Many of the faithful said it was difficult to find hope with more people losing their jobs due to an extended lockdown for fourteen days following a spike in Covid cases.
Former police officer Jerry Dabu told MTV News that it is difficult to find hope, especially with the extended enhanced community quarantines. They said it’s very hard to find employment with most companies closed or implementing retrenchments and yet they have not received enough aid from the government.
Based on official figures from the Department of Health (DoH) and Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) as of April 4, the country had recorded 795,051 coronavirus cases with 13,425 deaths.
Duterte said a collective effort is necessary for the nation to survive and overcome the sufferings brought by the global pandemic that has impacted the Philippine economy.
“As we collectively strive to overcome the challenges brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, I trust that the promise of salvation will inspire us to look ahead for new beginnings and move forward with stronger faith and compassion for others,” the president enthused.
But for Caloocan City parishioner Nancy Español, salvation will not be possible without a concrete government plan to fight the virus and cushion its effects.
“Madali para sa kanya (Duterte) na sabihing magkaroon ng pag-asa dahil ang Domingo de Ramos daw ay kumakatawan sa kaligtasan, gaya ng sinabi ni Hesu Kristo. Subalit ano nga bang kaligtasan ang ibinigay niya (Duterte) para sa atin? Pareho pa rin ang situwasyon natin ngayon tulad ng nakaraang taon, o higit pa ngang mas mahirap,” Español pointed out.
Duterte also described Easter as the ‘cornerstone’ of Christian faith and should make people persevere for a safer future.
Español, however, said it is difficult to believe in Duterte’s words because of his rants against the pope and the Catholic church and even more with hospitals in Manila now closing their doors to Covid patients because they are full to capacity.
“Paano natin sasabihin sa taongbayan na may pag-asa? Paano magagawa niyang paasahin ang publiko na malulusutan natin ang krisis kung ang ganitong situwasyon ay umiiral sa ating bayan? Kahit nga iyong tulong na inilaan para sa mga tao ay kinukupit pa ng mga politiko,” the mother of three decried.
A factory worker from Pasay City, who requested anonymity, underscored Duterte’s decision to allow local government officials to decide whether to dole out the latest round of financial assistance of P1,000 to P4,000 per household either in cash or in kind.
“Parang hindi niya alam na noong unang mga ayuda ay maraming hindi nabigyan habang marami ding mga opisyal sa mga LGU (local government units) ang nangupit pa sa pamamagitan ng pag-o-overprice sa mga relief goods na ipinamahagi sa kani-kanilang komunidad,” he noted.
In conclusion, the Pasay resident said that once again, the plight of those who are in need would be in jeopardy because some officials, particularly in the barangays, would deem the dole-outs as a way for them to get so-called ‘commissions’ from their overpricing.
“Tiyak ang ayudang ibibigay kapag ginawang ‘in kind’ ay dadayain na naman at sa halagang isang libo(ng) piso baka halagang P500 lang na mga de lata at bigas ang matatanggap ng bawat pamilya,” he ended saying. (AI/MTVN)