Group says COVID-19 pandemic exposes gap between rich and poor
Philippine Legislators’ Committee on Population and Development (PLCPD) said that the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic is a reminder that closing the gap between the rich and the poor should be a priority.
“In the current public health emergency of COVID-19 outbreak marked by an atmosphere of fear, panic, and confusion, there is one reality that becomes clearer, more visible, and more real every day: there is a wide gap between the rich and the poor. In a time of crisis, when everyone is vulnerable, the poor is way more vulnerable to the immediate and attendant threats to public health and their economic impact,” PLCPD said.
The group said that the declarations of community quarantine for Metro Manila, and subsequently, of enhanced community quarantine for the whole of Luzon resulted in the huddling of people in key entry and exit points throughout Metro Manila, virtually rendering the guidelines to observe social distancing and to restrict forming in large crowds ineffective.
“This picture is an indication of a deeper national problem: the lack of safety nets for the poor and the vulnerable. The ones who have enough resources can properly observe the prescribed precautionary measures and have access to basic necessities that will allow them to survive for weeks to come while on community quarantine,” PLCPD said.
For the poor, it is altogether a different story, the group said.
“For the poor, the daily wage earners, those who are part of the informal economy, or those who are employed by small businesses who could not survive prolonged inactivity, suspension of work, suspension of mass transportation, and social distancing could mean hunger,” the group explained.
“Social distancing may not even be imaginable, let alone observable, for those who live in poor communities where the requirements of proper hygiene, space, and access to healthcare are a luxury. For many Filipinos, precautionary measures like staying at home and social distancing are another privilege they cannot afford,” it added.