Written by Glemir Sordilla
April 20, 2020
Bacolod, Negros Occidental
I still remember when the news erupted about some cases of COVID-19. It was told as a new virus spreading in China and not much information is available about it yet. After that, the reporter transitioned to different news in a snap. She talked about the usual things, gas prices, politics, and then sports. A stark contrast to what is happening just a few weeks later where everywhere you turn around its about how many lives were taken, the symptoms of COVID-19, and the steps of the local and national government to aid its citizens. The whole world has taken a whole turn.
Since the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) has been implemented, I haven’t stepped foot outside. I honestly thought this would just be a walk in the park for me and that is where I am wrong. I would find myself entranced with my books, watching videos, and helping in our store. My graduation ceremony was canceled and I am worried about our daily necessities because my father just got out after being hospitalized because of an accident. I can actually feel it taking a toll on my mental health.
Before I am swallowed up by my troubles, I am always reminded that I am not experiencing this alone but instead of feeling comforted because of this, all I can feel is the helplessness that I can’t do anything to help than just staying at home. Questions like “how can I directly help?” piled up in my mind. That’s when I started donating. The next thing that came up as a big question mark is if that is enough. Guilt bubbled up inside of me, asking myself if I just did it in order to feel good about myself.
“POVERTY IS A CHOICE” has been trending on Twitter continuously in my country after a controversial financial aid of the government for those citizens who are in need of immediate help. I was appalled on how many troll comments are out there trying to degrade the poor citizens of the country and thought that they should just be thankful they are receiving help. I immediately thought of the street beggars I encounter daily on my way to school. They would never choose to be in the situation that they are right now. One of the twitter users said that “poverty is a choice is a lie rich people say to themselves so they don’t feel guilty for exploiting the working class.” The only time poverty is a choice is when the powerful people chose to give people low wages, inaccessible healthcare and education and a lot more and if reporting trolls on social media is also a way to help stop the spread of false statements, I’ll gladly do it.
Hope is still evident during this time together with kindness and empathy. Countless volunteers and frontliners are working tirelessly. Another question, more of a wish or hope, that slither inside my mind while I am writing this with the colorful sunset colors cascading my paper is that those who actively help, and this is coming from the household who got blessed with helping hands, won’t get tired and realize that what they are doing right now will mean a lot to people’s lives.