Filipino netizens are calling out the Department of Transportation (DOTr) for actually thanking COVID-19, the disease responsible for killing thousands of people worldwide.
Trouble started when the DOTr posted a video created by a musician named Riya Sokol, which actually expresses gratitude to the virus for a lot of things (yikes). The clip shared by the DOTr starts from the part of the song that says, “Thank you for stopping the transport, the earth was begging us to look at the pollution for a very long time.”
In its frankly tone-deaf caption, the DOTr quoted the other lines from Sokol said, such as, “Thank you for shaking us and showing us we’re dependent on something much bigger than we think.”
Netizens quickly lambasted the DOTr for sharing the video, which was widely perceived to be insensitive, especially now that Filipino doctors and nurses are struggling to treat hundreds of people who have been infected with the virus.
User @ronel_serrano wrote, “What a toxic optimism you have there DOTr. Do not just go thanking a virus that slaughters hundreds or thousands of people. Respect the ones who died by that virus.”
What a toxic optimism you have there DOTr. Do not just go thanking a virus that slaughters hundreds or thousands of people. Respect the ones who died by that virus. https://t.co/oCIYSsHdmb
— Bassists (@ronel_serrano) March 23, 2020
The backlash prompted the DOTr to take down the post and issue an apologetic statement this afternoon. However, they defended the original post, saying, “The poem and video has gone viral because it presents a different perspective, one which gives humanity a reflective pause and appreciate what really matters in our lives.”
“We acknowledge that not all of our audience appreciate the underlying message of the poem and video, and we understand that some view it as an insensitive act. For that, we sincerely apologize,” they added.
Are you satisfied with the DOTr’s apology? Tell us by leaving your comment below or tweeting to @CoconutsManila.
This article, PH Transport Department lambasted for saying ‘thank you’ to COVID-19, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company. Want more Coconuts? Sign up for our newsletters!