How the government failed the people in its handling of the coronavirus

Stranded Filipino travelers. [Photo from the Jakarta Post]


By Joe America

The Duterte government is introducing a Phase 2 of the anti-virus effort. I called Phase 1 a disaster which caused my DDS pen pal Secretary Locsin to read me the riot act. The US is the disaster, the Philippines not, he said.

Well, his measure is rather narrow. He advocated for and has backed the first hard lockdown, and I would agree with him that that part of the effort was very valuable. Saved a lot of lives.

But here’s my problem. Government both wants to take credit for the effectiveness of the lockdown while simultaneously accusing the people of lacking discipline and causing the spread of the virus. Hells bells, the people can’t tell if they have the disease or not because testing has been really really shitty. So it is disengenuous of the Government that failed to do the testing to point to the people as culprits.

The people are the victims who have sucked it up, gone hungry, stayed home, and made the lockdown work.

It’s a lousy, two-faced Government that won’t give credit where credit is due. A survey showed that Filipinos did a better job staying home than did residents of other countries. Yes, there were violators, and the Government, in citing them as examples of lack of discipline, was using the biggest argumentative fallacy known to man, generalizing from a few specific cases.

The first lockdown was a good thing. So is the current one. But here are the bad things:

  1. The Philippines did not slam the door on China immediately. It allowed the infections in.
  2. Department of Health (DOH) Sec. Duque proved to be either a liar or incompetent when he kept promising more testing, and kept missing the targets. Month after month. It seems even today, DOH has no appreciation of science. Of the statistics. Of knowledge, of who is infected and who is not.
  3. The island structure of the Philippines was not used to protect the provinces. Instead, Bong Go’s program to send people home spread the disease across the land.
  4. Who knows where the money went. Billions, pissed away for what? They won’t account for it. DOH seems thick with corruption, and I’ll bet LGU officials made off with a lot of the loot meant for relief of the victims: the people. Believe me, I now see the Philippines as thick with a morally infected, cruel bunch of self-dealing assholes running things.

So, for Secretary Locsin, great. Nice work on that lock-down. But kindly see the bigger picture, see the failures, and see the people for what they are. Long suffering, stalwart victims. Good people, in the main.

Get your pals on the IATF, mostly men, I note, largely devoid of compassion and breadth of vision, to credit the people instead of bounce batons off their heads.

And stop using argumentative fallacies that seek to push aside Government’s accountability for the tragedy and suffering that we can see . . . and feel . . . first hand.


52 Responses to “How the government failed the people in its handling of the coronavirus”
  1. Clustering people by making them wait for help for hours or at endless checkpoints certainly helped spread the virus to a lot of asymptomatics. They then spread it to others after lockdown.

    Also, time was not used to test, contact trace and isolate clusters of infection. In fact it was often denied that asymptomatics are contagious. Time should have been used to prepare extra ICU capacity as well and have a referral database so people don’t have to physically look for hospitals.

    The stranded and quarantined where neglected as well, possibly further spreading the disease.

  2. NHerrera says:

    Short and sweet. Thanks.

  3. karlgarcia says:

    Many have suggested the schools at least the public schools be used as quarrantine sites.
    The checkpoints mess happened the first night of the lockdown just because it was curfew, no one was allowed to go home since they would not go anywhere they were allowed.Imagine that happening all o er the country not just the one in the news.

    Taiwan blocked the mainland from entering. We were told to be kind to China and the virus(latin pronunciation)will die a natural death.

    Today Lorenzana and Año says everything is still under control and will ve back to GCQ.
    IATF chief implementer Galvez stated not enough time to implement DOH goals.

    • kasambahay says:

      by now with the rise and rise and rise still of the number of those infected, lorenzana and anyo know the virus is in control, the govt can pretend it has the ball albeit an imaginary one.

      IATF’s galvez must act faster than the virus can spread; act fast and make hard decisions, that’s what implementers do. kaso, he is being uberly chummy and collegiate with fellow kabaro and together, dragging their feet sila, in ball and chain is what I think. so ordered and they followed.

      in the meantime, the virus waits for no one. and if the govt goes for soft herd immunity one region at a time, not plunging the nation into total herd immunity at once, save the economy and open businesses, shrug my shoulders na lang po ako dito. sanay na at medyo manhid na ang gobyernong ito sa mga backlash. and if they go for soft herd immunity, what’s another backlash to them? the good side, govt can say they’re on top of things and controlling the path the virus wishes to take.

      the bad side? govt could sustain casualties sa mismong hanay nila.

      who knows? duque has duterte’s full trust and doh may come up with yet another miracle: the recoveries of the multitude, lol!

      • kasambahay says:

        know what more I think is wrong? contact tracing is hampered kuno, hospitals not very straightforward and only gave names of contact, no addresses and no phone numbers. kung ako ang in charge, I’d subcontract the 1st part of contact tracing (paperwork) to hospital staff, already on ground zero sila and have the crucial data. in charge can then do the 2nd part of contact tracing and cold call, house to house if need be and round up those to be tested.

        our people dont really need to be called and be tested, they’re quite willing to come and be tested making in charge’s job easier. if in charge can organize logistics and all, time and place included, in charge can surely piece meal the crowd, one sitio at a time, not creating a huge deluge of people from all sitios in charge cannot control.

  4. Andrew Preston says:

    One of the biggest problems in this whole fiasco is decision making takes such a long time. And that is because everyone is trying to make a buck out of this without being caught, From masks, face shields, back rider barriers and PPE for medical front liners. Phil Health is a visible but small part of the corruption, no point saying these people involved will be suspended and life style checks made.. As if the money can be traced?? Check California or New York and it will open your eyes.. Maybe Andres Bautista is running a real estate agency catering to dollar salting government employee’s and appointee’s. People need to be charged and thrown in jail. Appeals can be placed while incarcerated like in the rest of the world.. but.. seems no one wants to make real change to a messed up system.

    • Yes, there is a built-in social mechanism for greed to thrive. Centuries of suppression of aspiration, which is satisfied by caring for others. All that’s left is taking care of oneself.

  5. NHerrera says:


    Putin claims Russia developed the first coronavirus vaccine. He said her daughter took the vaccine and first had a slight fever but is now feeling well. It seems that Russia’s Warp Speed vaccine development is warper than Trump’s or Xi’s.

    Pabili naman dyan, Vlad, basta mura lang. Friends tayo diba?

    • Like the Space Race in 60s. Russia could always absorb human deaths in their cost-benefit , more than the US, but I truly doubt Russia has the medical know how of vaccines, NH.

      Sure Russian is in the news, thats another R&D. But vaccines, the trial error and just science behind it, to actually do a vaccine that works, highly dubious IMHO.

      • NHerrera says:

        It is reported, at the very least, that no “clinical trial” had been conducted before the vaccine’s approval for use. The Russians so like their vaccine to be the first one. It is named as “Sputnik-V.”

    • kasambahay says:

      joke lang po ito: which daughter of putin’s got the vaccine? he has a number of offspring, byblows included, and can surely lose a daughter, lol! and in return, daughter got a very cute villa in switzerland, p’haps? may slight fever lang kuno ang daughter, if I were daughter, I’d check myself baka I’d grow an extra arm, lol!

      ay, si putin talaga. gotta make himself taller, kasi of all the world leaders, he’s one of the not so tall ones.

      medyo dubious yang sputnik vaccine ni manong putin, WHO has not data of sputnik’s clinical trial, nothing published so far, nothing peer reviewed.

      I’ll wait for a more credible covid vaccine. currently, around 165 vaccines are in clinical trials worldwide. and putin jumped the gun.

      I’ll continue on with what I’ve been doing to keep meself covid safe, observing hygiene, wearing facemask and social distancing. I’m starting to like social distancing and wearing facemask, I’m invisible! unnoticed. one of many.

      • kasambahay says:

        anyhow, duterte sabi philippines will have putin’s vaccine made available to the public and dispense. scary thought that one. sounds to me clinical trial lamang ito.

        there is big money involved in clinical trials, venues set, data collected, clinical participants carefully monitored for any adverse reaction which can sometimes means death labelled clinical misadventure as participants are supposedly made aware of the risks they took, and took it anyway.

        participants are paid for the duration of the trial, equivalent to minimum wage have they been working.

        I’m hoping the public is not duped, told they’re receiving free vaccine when in fact it was clinical trial they been roped into. the efficacy of the vaccine still being studied.

        it pays to be wary, in my opinion.

  6. Micha says:


    Duterte’s new anti-terror law is strikingly similar to the draconian security legislation China imposed on Hong Kong.

    Have to agree with Antonio Montalvan here. Many who have not been duped always thought that this terror law was mostly meant to silence perceived enemies of this criminal regime than prevent so-called terrorism.

    Afterall, nothing can be more terrifying than an inutile incompetent regime in the midst of a pandemic.

    • NHerrera says:

      If one were following developments of the coronavirus infections in the US, the information in the link may be old news. But it is nice to have these put together in one article. Thanks for posting the link.

  7. NHerrera says:



    In a TSH blog eons ago, I said KH is my choice for US Presidential nominee in the early phase of the Democratic Primary Debates for the US Presidential Election of 2020. The worthies of TSH did not find her worthy compared to the other Primary Candidates.

    This much I can say now: I agree with the assessment that she is intelligent and a quick learner. We make past choices and mistakes we should not have, but being intelligent and a quick learner may be useful in later life. I find that in, say, the rearing of children, that the cloistered no-mistake ones may not be an effective person and leader later in life.

    • Micha says:

      While I’m not exactly excited with the Biden-Harris team, they are at least an improvement to the Orange Dope in the WH.

    • NHerrera says:

      Susan Rice, another black woman of intellect and accomplishment, also one of those considered as a possible VP of Biden, said, “Senator Harris is a tenacious and trailblazing leader who will make a great partner in the campaign trail. I am confident that Biden-Harris will prove to be a winning ticket.”

    • NHerrera says:

      Last one. When KH debates with Pence on October 7 he will get some blows from “nasty” Kamala — a label Trump and his allies used against her. That probably is a fairer statement than saying she will make mincemeat of him in the debate.

      • kasambahay says:

        biden got himself a battering ram. pardon po, kaming mga bisaya may kasabihan: pili sa pili, sa pinilian pauli. I’ll to translate to english and likely going to fall short dahil not good english speaker ako, but I’ll try anyway. means po, biden disregarded many and ended up with a reject. I know that sounds bad, pero transparent ako e, hides not an opinion.

    • isk says:

      Mahal ko o mahal ako, sino ang pipiliin ko?

      Something to ponder…

    • I know Harris was a DA for San Fran and Atty General for California, then as Senator.

      I don’t know her track record as a prosecutor, but her jumping in the bandwagon when that Juicy Smollett story broke, tells me she’s not very versatile, that or she’s just not familiar with downtown Chicago at all. LOL! read naive.

      And to isk‘s video below on busing , incidentally that issue too (busing) was what turned Justice Clarence Thomas to Republican (actually libertarian in thought), because his kids (I think they were living in Boston at the time) were also subjected to busing.

      But bused to a similarly poor neighborhood, the difference being it was a white neighborhood in Boston. And the social experimenters wanted to cross pollinate or something. So Clarence Thomas didn’t get MLK jr.’s dream but the nightmare version.

      And all for the idea of “integration”. Thus Clarence Thomas’ kid was subjected to unnecessary racism, all for integration. So Biden (i don’t like him at all) had a point. Biden’s talking about social experiments, forced busing when really it was not necessary and/or beneficial.

      Nowadays people opt for charter schools, basically private schools run using public school buildings. They generate competition, parents and students go to the ones with a high track record.

      I’m from the Bay Area, north of UC Berkeley is rich and white, south of the campus towards Oakland is black, but I doubt there was Separate but Equal stuff going on at Berkeley during Harris’ time. So i’m sure the busing issue she’s talking about is the whole notion of your school neighborhood, ie. if you want to go to school in the good side of town,

      you have to petition the school district to do so. Making it a real estate and school district issue not the Jim Crow stuff going on in the south, that needed Federal intervention.

      She conflating two things.

      Harris’ mom is from India; her Dad is from Jamaica , both are highly educated; its the same Obama playbook, channeling the Civil Rights era when really their family experiences and history had nothing to do with it. its false equivalency with John Lewis and others. Berkeley and Oahu are so far off the mark.

    • NHerrera says:

      An observation: it is interesting that the subject mostly strikes a chord or touches a raw nerve when it comes to Kamala Harris. I am trying to find an analogy in the scientific realm. Try this: in the early days, Albert Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity had similar responses, albeit worded in a scientific way.

  8. Karl Garcia says:

    Everything is under control if not for the pasaways.
    The vaccine from Russia has been aproved by Dr Percida Acosta and is sure to be very safe..
    Diokno says we do not have to sell assets, Duterte says we have no money because it is in the pockets of the Davao group.

    • Haha. Doesn’t surprise me at all!

    • NHerrera says:

      The vaccine from Russia has been approved by Dr. Percida Acosta and is sure to be very safe..

      Karl, please tell me you crafted a joke on Irineo’s and my favorite non-medical doctor — the Philippine Dengue Vaccine Expert. Otherwise, I will say the pandemic has made us completely, thoroughly nuts. Not that we need the pandemic to make us so.

        • kasambahay says:

          may tampuhan yata, may broken heart, love not reciprocated, lol! dati, duterte was big on sinovax, have spoken to xi kuno and philippines will be prioritized with covid vaccine. kaso, sinovax trial went to indonesia, and may even be mass produced for worldwide market in indonesia as well.

          pilipinas ang siyang nawalan ng territory and yet it’s indonesia that got sinovax. and now duterte is pining hope on sputnik vaccine from russia with love. na maturukan with sputnik, (kaputnik!) daw si duterte by may 2021. goodbye, china; hello russia. what a diff a month of september makes.

  9. karlgarcia says:

    we are weak in healthcare and social protection. we are the weakest link.

    • kasambahay says:

      heard ko po ang bagong dating sa bansa the chinese complementary medicine, lianhua qingwen, bilang complementary (not the main cure) for use vs covid. anti fever kuno ito, I think, they mean pyrolytic, if only they use the correct medical term . . . the packet could use better english medical translation if it meant to reach wider market. spend some money on translation and have the chinese complementary meds, its usage, side effects and contraindications be known to all. hwag yong buyer beware lang.

      been used in china kuno for decades itong lianhua qingwen, and yet bago itong covid 19, less than one year old.

      the chinese capsules to be taken 12X a day! medyo excessive ang recommended amount na ‘to, e. I’m afraid, I’d lose a kidney, or damage my liver in the long run and would need organ transplant.

      come from herbs kuno itong chinese med, natural kuno and safe.

      arsenic is also natural, but not safe. a, ewan.

  10. karlgarcia says:

    jollibee 255 stores to close.
    it would be impossible if mickey D did better here and the US unless they did great as Miki Dy in China.

    • NHerrera says:

      I just googled and got this: as of May 2019, Jollibee operates over 1,300 stores, 1,150 of which are in the Philippines, its country of origin, and 234 are situated in foreign markets.

      So 255 represents 20 percent of the total. Significant.

      • Karl Garcia says:

        They are the leading fast food chain .Wait till the news comes out for the nobodies in the biz.

        • Actually, this will benefit local eateries but lower food quality. Basically the nation drops back to ‘provincial’ in the towns that lose their Jollibee.

          • kasambahay says:

            ay, filipinos are creative lot. it wont take long before provincial entrepreneurial filipinos make copies and semblance of jollibee, long as there’s no notices of infringement of copyright and intellectual property.

            china probly lose business too, some of jollibees lines are imported from china.

          • Karl Garcia says:

            While still in pandemic,
            the f and b biz is in trouble and have to rely on deliveries.
            Literally too many cooks.

            • kasambahay says:

              necessity is mother of invention po, they’ll think of something. too many people around the world lost jobs, world economy tanked woefully. we are all waiting, hoping and praying for successful clinical covid trials and eventurally, manufacture of potent covid vaccine. not all trials will be successful, some will fail, did not trigger the projected rate of immunity hoped for.

  11. NHerrera says:


    Shown below are the bar chart and 7-day moving average of the daily coronovirus cases in the Philippines. The three completed phases are shown, each starting with rapid growth then a plateau. There is a developing fourth phase with clear rapid growth and a developing plateau.

    Going to the Worldometer Source from which I got the bar chart and the 7-day moving average, I obtained the following approximate levels of the case-plateaus from the interactive chart:

    Phase 1 — 250
    Phase 2 — 600
    Phase 3 — 1900
    Phase 4 — 3800 [developing]

    The current confirmed cases total is 147,000. If the 4th plateau level stays at about 3800, the total case will be about 260,000 in a month — that is on September 12.

    • NHerrera says:

      Considering that even in countries where the virus was thought to have been licked is having some minor surge, the urgency for a vaccine [referencing PH agreement to have the Russian Sputnik-V vaccine use PH volunteers for the clinical trial] is important. In my post above, the ratio of plateau levels to a previous one (Phase 2 over Phase 1, etc) is about or over 2.0. If a fifth phase develops we would have a plateau level of about 8000 cases a day — scary.

      • 6,216 cases today. The trendline is still upward bound. 8,000 per day is in sight in a week or two.

        • NHerrera says:

          Revised estimate of the total cases in light of your note: 15 days @ 3800 average plus 15 days @8000 average gives in 30 days a total of 324,000 (=147,000 + 15*3800 + 15*800). Say, roughly 300,000.

  12. NHerrera says:


    This is not a follow-up on my notes above about Kamala Harris. It is more my admiration of Biden as a person — assuming a major part of the NYTimes article I read on an insider view of the VP selection process is true. It is his concern to make the delicate parts of the exhaustive vetting process very private and elevating the candidates rather than hurting them after the process is over.

    • I think she’s more of a Palin-type pick, NH. In the end, Kamala Harris is a hottie (though both are aged now, like fine wine). Easy on the eyes, basically. It’ll be a hottie vs. hottie VP race, when Trump taps Nikki Haley. Biden shoulda picked Bernie, and have him wear lipstick or something.

    • kasambahay says:

      biden ought not sabotage his own campaign and keep his hands to himself, literally, lol!

      at their 1st sorte’ that netted them 25millions, biden and harris walked sa stage in synchronized movement, almost. harris dressed in blue suit, blue as in depression? most men would unknowingly choose the color blue too; okay, so harris is mannish, lot of women are. no problem yan. harris teamed her blue suit with shoes colored beige, not threatening yang beige, demure. harris, demure?

      then while at stage and with everyone looking, biden patted harris at the back, apparently motioning her to her seat. I saw harris’ head pulled back slightly, bit she was not comfy with being patted. I had expected her to pat biden in return and drive home a message, I got this old man, dont push. she did nothing of the sort and duly walked to her seat.

      I hope that was 1st and last time biden patted harris. she is grown woman, not a girl to be patted. she knows where she is going and knows how to get there. and if biden patted her again . . . she can bend his finger, crack! lol! I’m being funny.

      • Micha says:

        Uncle Joe is a touch person, can’t help it…it’s his nature. Many people are like that. I wouldn’t expend energy quibbling on that particular mannerism.

        My issue with Mr. Biden is his governing policy. The Democratic Party used to be a worker’s party but, over the years, it has moved to become a party of Wall Street donors and parasitic bankers, paving the way for the election of a populist fraud currently in the WH.

        Even if Biden-Harris team will win this November, they will face the unenviable task of presiding over a country wracked by pandemic carnage and, quite possibly, more social unrest.

        • NHerrera says:

          I agree that concerns with Biden being touchy-touchy pales in comparison to the big picture. Part of the big picture, in fact, in my opinion, the biggest picture is the US Administration’s not at all subtle efforts to destroy the core element of democracy — the voting process. If the voting process is destroyed, what is democracy?

        • NHerrera says:

          Here is another big picture regarding the pandemic in the US. With the hopeful arrival soon of a vaccine, US polls show that only 60% will take the vaccine if available. I believe that the undermining of the medical experts by Trump does not help the situation, aside from the fact that there are those who are traditionally anti-vaccine. That is not good news. If the Reproduction Number R of the coronavirus is 3 when unrestrained, the effective reduction of R with 60% immunity through the vaccine becomes 1.2 [= 3*(1 – 0.60)]. Only when R is less than 1 will the infection fade with time.

          Here is news about school reopening. CDC reports that 40% of the children infected with the virus are asymptomatic — similar to the case for adults.

          • NHerrera says:

            There is a solution to this though. If Biden gets elected, he will mandate the use of masks, social-distancing, and continued testing. This will assure that the virus Reproduction Number becomes less than 1 and allows the fading of the virus with time. While the rest of the world is going about their activities sans mask, we have that picture in the US. Haha.

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