ONE of the qualities of our politicians or public officials, elected or appointed, or however you may call it, is that they respect science and medicine and submit to the opinions of the experts on issues that involve security of the state and health of the people, such as on the Covid-19.
If my memory serves me right, when the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) landed on our shores in late January, and later became widespread in the early part of March 2020, not a single public official or even President Rodrigo Duterte, who is known for his fiery and sometimes vulgar language, ever said that this virus is a hoax.
It’s not our culture to speak ill of those suffering from an illness, especially those stricken by the Covid-19, even if they are our worst enemies. There are some few misguided souls, though, who privately wag their tongues against a sick person, whether a private person or a politician.
The World Health Organization (WHO) and our Department of Health (DOH) warned the people that Covid-19 is a deadly virus compared to other viruses before it. It’s just unfortunate that US President Donald Trump, before he was infected with Covid-19, called the virus a hoax and refused to abide by the health protocols that his government’s experts advised, like the wearing of mask in public and social distancing.
While confined at the Walter Reed Medical Center for the virus, President Trump went out on a joyride with a mask on and his secret service escorts in full PPEs to see his supporters who were outside the hospital, causing an outrage among medical experts. President Trump also posted a video taken inside the hospital admitting that he now learned about the virus.
The recent stunt of President Trump is understandable because it’s the campaign period and he wants to show to his supporters that despite his age he could still beat the virus that he called a China virus and a hoax. Take note that despite the intense political rivalry in the upcoming US presidential polls, presidential candidate Joe Biden wished Trump and his family well. First Lady Melania Trump also has the virus.
We should be glad that President Duterte, even with his sometimes inappropriate language and style, and the other elected officials and opposition leaders even if they vary in their opinions on the issue, showed their leadership during this pandemic by being models in wearing the mask as the first defense against the virus.
Even if there are those that President Duterte described as “mga gahi’g ulo” (hardheaded), particularly Cebu City when the Covid-19 infection rate was high, the vast majority of us complied and observed the minimum health protocols that the DOH implemented and enforced by the Philippine National Police with the help of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
Now that Trump, the world’s powerful leader, has inarguably admitted in a video post that he now learned that the virus is real and he is currently on medication at the hospital, who are we not to follow and observe the imposed minimum health protocols to avoid the infection when most of us could not even afford private hospitals? Sa ato pa, motuman ug magmatngon na ta!