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A recent survey might have just busted the Filipino “pasaway” myth


These past few months, we’ve heard the word “pasaway” more often than usual. Some government officials have pointed the blame on the country’s COVID-19 spread with these so-called hardheaded Filipinos. However, a recent international survey may just show the contrary.

The survey of British research firm YouGov held from July 6 to 12 concludes that 92 percent of respondents in the Philippines “always” wear a mask when they leave the house. This makes the Philippines the second highest ranking among the countries asked, following Singapore with 93 percent. In the previous weeks, the Philippines had also received high rankings, with 91 percent from June 22 to 28, and 89 percent from June 8 to 14.

Scandinavian countries like Sweden, Finland and Denmark rank highest in the “never” scale, with 86 percent of their respondents claiming that they don’t use face masks at all.

The same survey also revealed that 83 percent of Filipinos “always” wash their hands with soap and water. In addition, the Philippines and Hong Kong are among the earliest to adopt to regularly wearing face masks in public. The data reached a considerable spike in March, the same month that Luzon’s enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) was first implemented.

Back in April, Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said that Filipinos should be ashamed for the supposed lack of discipline amid ECQ.

“Ang dami pong pasaway sa atin. At dahil po diyan number one na naman po tayo sa ASEAN sa dami ng COVID-19. Nakakahiya po yan,” said Roque in a press briefing. “Itigil niyo na po ang pagiging pasaway, manatili po kayo sa inyong tahanan.”

In May, now-former Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) adviser Dr. Anthony Leachon cited a social study, which showed that many Filipinos don’t perceive COVID-19 as a personal threat. In a radio interview with Inquirer, Leachon called these Filipinos “pasaway” and uncommitted to the campaign against the disease.

On the other hand, a local survey by the National Research Council of the Philippines showed that middle-class Filipinos had a “high level” of compliance when it comes to lockdowns and safety measures like wearing face masks, handwashing and physical distancing. However, they have “little confidence” when it comes to the country’s health care system.

As of writing, there are 43,160 active cases and 67,456 total cases in the country.

Read more:
It’s about time we put a stop to the “pasaway” narrative
While the rich are lining up for cake, the working class are trying not to starve
You heard Mayor Vico: LGU, not police, will lead COVID-19 search

Photo by visuals from Unsplash



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