Fetalvero: The numbers

Noemi Fetalvero
·2 min read

WALKING on a tightrope requires balance. The world is in such a situation where we have to balance everything as we are presented with percentages from all fronts.

Countries are challenged between sustainable economic growth and staying Covid-19 free. There is also the concern between population and food supply brought about by global warming and climate change.

According to an SWS survey, the number of hungry Filipinos doubled amid the pandemic. Some 426,000 families had to endure “severe” hunger.

The Philippine Statistics Authority released gloomy data in April 2020 that some 17.7 percent of Filipinos, equivalent to 7.3 million, went jobless amid the pandemic.

Here are more numbers:

School dropouts: 2.97 million, 61.9 percent of which are girls. There are girls ages 16 to 24 who are forced to get married. Teenage pregnancy has increased. The gap between percentages gets wider. The disparity between supply and demand for pork and chicken compelled President Rodrigo Duterte to put a price ceiling on the protein-based commodity.

As much as we want our nurses to serve our country, our much needed human resources would rather work abroad because they are much better compensated. The controversial offer of the United Kingdom to donate Covid-19 vaccines, if we send our nurses to work there, shows how desperate the situation is.

An added concern worldwide is the availability and equal distribution of the coronavirus vaccines coming from all parts of the world. Third World countries like the Philippines are faced with the indemnification law as a requirement for acquisition of vaccines. Our government is setting aside P500 million to cover indemnification.

What continues to bother me is with regard to Sinovac, the vaccine from China. While this administration has been pushing Sinovac, a big percentage of Filipinos do not want to be inoculated, even causing some apprehension from the uniformed men in the military.

Some 500,000 Sinovac vaccines are to be donated to the Philippines. However, surveys show that Filipinos prefer other vaccines. China itself has not used the vaccine on its own people to counter the threat of the dreaded virus. The vaccine has only a 50 percent efficacy rate. In fact, it is not even recommended to be given to our health workers.

The question is: “Do we have a choice?”

Can we survive without the vaccines? It is a tough decision for Filipinos to make. I believe truth, love and justice are great denominators to balance everything and alter the percentages.