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While the rich are lining up for cake, the working class are trying not to starve

While the rich are lining up for cake, the working class are trying not to starve

Last Mother’s Day, bakeries around Metro Manila were flocked by customers, filling almost every space of certain establishments. While this normally isn’t a strange sight on a holiday, these crowds had come together during quarantine—a time when we’re advised to wait out the pandemic indoors.

From the looks of it, certain physical distancing stipulations may have been neglected. While restaurants are barred from accepting dine-in customers due to the risk of spreading the disease in confined spaces, people crowded restaurants as they waited for take-out, with lines snaking outside the doors.

The Conti’s management soon released a statement, saying that, “stores were immediately reminded to ensure that physical distancing is practiced for everyone’s safety.” According to the store management, they had immediately reached out to the barangay—as well as the police and military—for crowd control assistance.

During that same day, residents of Barangay Bagong Pag-asa in Quezon City crowded Bagong Pag-asa Elementary School, in order to receive financial assistance from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)’s social amelioration program.

May 10—Mother’s Day—was the deadline of local government units to distribute cash aid to its constituents. As pictured, physical distancing wasn’t carried out successfully, with citizens huddled together in the campus’ limited space. Senators such as Sonny Angara voiced out their sentiments, saying that this was “crazy and unhealthy.”

Read more: It’s about time we put a stop to the “pasaway” narrative

Barangay Bagong Pag-asa Chairman Rodolfo Palma claims to have called the Philippine National Police (PNP) to help restrain the crowds, saying that these residents were refusing to listen to them. “Nawawala na sa kanila ’yung social distancing, physical distancing,” he says.

Privileged folks on the internet have been dubbing the pandemic as “the great equalizer,” when scenes like these prove that it is anything but. While the privileged have the choice to adhere to rules, they forgo it for luxuries, be it as simple as cake. Meanwhile, on the other side of social class, citizens were left with no option as they confronted the crowds in order to survive, while getting called “pasaway” in the process.

One thing echoes when I see these photos placed side-by-side—Marie-Antoinette’s faux legacy truly lives, because let them eat cake, indeed.

Read more:
For us working class, ‘social distancing’ doesn’t cut it
Compared to neighbor countries, the PH is handling COVID-19 terribly
Why Kabataan Partylist’s Sarah Elago defends the #LeaveNoStudentBehind movement

Art by Jenny Masangkay



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