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Harry Roque, citizens are not your “living experiment”

Gabbi Garcia and Khalil Ramos for Scout x Globe

When we were kids, many people asked us what we wanted to be when we grow up. We had many answers, but I bet we never wished to be a guinea pig.

In today’s episode of government announcements, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque tried avoiding questions on extending or easing the current quarantine classifications given our record 83,673 COVID-19 cases (plus a death toll of 1,947) as of writing. 

Although the official announcement on new quarantine protocols is set on Aug. 1, we managed to clue ourselves in on the plans of the officials. In an interview with CNN Philippines’ The Source, Roque was asked to weigh the chances of Metro Manila shifting back to modified enhanced community quarantine. 

His answer? “Metro Manila will be a living experiment, and it’s an experiment that we believe we can be successful at, and it will be something that we can be proud of.” 

Sorry to burst your bubble spox, but what do you mean by a “living experiment?” With our hospitals at “warning zone,” people losing their livelihood and students forced to take online classes (or none at all), could we even afford to be guinea pigs in these trying times? If anything, the fight to solve a pandemic isn’t a pop culture experiment we can just watch and laugh about when we’re done. 

This is not the first time that the crisis has been seen through unlikeable lens. Three weeks ago, Roque said, “kinakailangan nating sayawan ang COVID-19 kasi sa Pilipino when you have to live with something, sayawan mo na lang.” He also said we’re “winning” against COVID-19 after finding out that we “beat” the UP-predicted figure of 40,000 cases by the end of June. Today, July 29, as the Palace admitted its “defeat”, Roque also left a message regarding his “celebration” last month: “To those who made fun of my excitement, you got what you wanted. The forecast happened. And I see no reason why we should celebrate. That is sad.”

With our country shifting to different quarantine measures the past four months, an “experiment” frankly doesn’t make sense. Calling (or treating) it so downgrades peoples’ lives into mere petri dishes—variables you can manipulate. Being an “experiment,” who’s at risk when it fails? “Life that is lost is life that is lost forever,” right? 

Photo from Inquirer

 

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Jelou Galang
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