Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should
Like many singles camping out in the digital space of social media, I counted the last days of 2021 by begging for a plot twist. You know, just for kicks. Who knows what I could’ve ~manifested~, right? A new major purchase, a warm memory to close off the year or maybe finding a special someone to ring in 2022 with. The usual schtick. But much to all of our collective surprise, everyone received a plot twist. One that was ~positive~ in all the wrong ways, if you catch my drift.
The pandemic fatigue has definitely taken its toll on everyone. Couple that with the newfound confidence vaccines have given us, the holidays provided an opening for everyone to loosen up a bit. Grand reunions, dates out and even intimate parties were in full swing over December. Last-minute gift shopping involved impromptu trips to the mall, and stocking up for Noche Buena and Media Noche meant handpicking the ingredients ourselves. Nonetheless, we treaded the outside world with utmost care. From actively choosing al fresco dining setups and standing far apart from each other to wearing masks when not eating or drinking, we all worked hard to protect ourselves and each other.
But in a crowd of vigilant and responsible citizens, there’s just a handful who are extra extra stubborn. And we can’t even chalk it up to pandemic fatigue because we need to say it like it is: it’s pure irresponsibility.
We now have poster children of quarantine violators—from a millennial who paid to skip quarantine and partied too hard to a girl who went straight home after an international trip and even dared to book a home massage. Not only did they put their loved ones in danger, they exposed laborers who work day in and day out to make an honest living amid the virus. All because some of us thought they could pay for anything and everything, and get away with it. Newsflash: just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.
At least these private citizens will face the law, but what about people in power who got away with doing the same thing despite being caught?
There’s a larger picture we need to look at and call out: the flaws in our system. Because even if there are those willing to skip all these protocols, a larger scheme enables them. Establishments make money by allowing returning residents to fake their papers. Antigen and RT-PCR tests are very costly for the common Filipino. Quarantine restrictions may have been eased up too soon. Many citizens still hesitate to get jabbed due to misinformation or a limit in available slots. All these add to the repercussions we’re currently facing: heightened Alert Levels, a surge in cases and our post-pandemic joys seemingly harder to reach.
The Philippines isn’t the only region suffering from an uptick of positive cases. From New York to France, cities and countries worldwide are re-heightening restrictions due to the massive spread of the Omicron and Delta variants. As the cases increase by the thousands, it’s high time to cancel post-holiday plans, insist on working from home and peruse our beloved delivery apps in the meantime. Wash your hands, mask up and stay one meter apart from the next person. Speak in low voices, disinfect everything before touching anything and please, carefully choose the places (and people) you meet. Lastly, seek accountability from those in power and don’t hesitate to take a stand. All we have is each other, so let’s be sensitive and vigilant from here on out.
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We can hold out and live with the FOMO. We’ve done it for the past two years, so what’re another few weeks just to save ourselves in the long run, right?
Art Macky Arquilla