According to the WHO, the first recorded Covid-19 case in the Philippines was a Chinese citizen at the end of January 2020. However, the danger of an impending pandemic was downplayed by the Duterte regime and the coronavirus was able to spread – supported by the flow of goods on the world market, the international one Tourism and the fact that numerous Filipinos have to look for a livelihood overseas and accordingly get around the globe – continued to spread until more and more Covid 19 infections were found by mid-March 2020. With the local spread of the new virus, a radical policy shift took place: Instead of trivialization, authoritarian measures were now consistently on the agenda of the rulers.
The tough measures taken by the government – because they came too late and are essentially not aimed at eradicating the virus but solely at expanding power – could not prevent the virus from spreading. With the consequence that the Philippines quickly developed into the corona hotspot in Southeast Asia. Official information and figures on infections, deaths and recoveries, which should be treated with caution, are provided by the Philippine Ministry of Health’s coronavirus website.
As in the rest of the world, the coronavirus is causing very different levels of concern among the population and government in the Philippines. The population worries about their health, tries to avoid contagion and lives under the often miserable conditions of the pandemic. The government, on the other hand, is concerned about the functioning of the nation and tries to limit the damage to the population by the virus to a level that affects the country’s economic activity as little as possible. One measure that illustrates this contradiction was the so-called “community quarantine” from mid-March to mid-April in the capital region of Manila.
Since these regionally limited curfews had no effect and the virus continued to spread across the main island of Luzon, a three-month nationwide “lockdown” followed, which sentenced all under 18s and all elderly people to permanent house arrest, while the rest of the population fit for work was only allowed to leave one’s own four walls to work and shop. These harsh measures hit the poorest part of the population in particular, as this made it impossible for them to laboriously earn a living as a street vendor, while the cost of living rose sharply. Apart from the fact that the living conditions of most people are anyway not conducive to health and are extremely meager. The German-Philippine Friends eV in Düsseldorf provide critical documentation of the Philippine corona policy. The situation in the Philippines is traced in 9 parts so far: Part I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII and XI.
The dual use of authoritarian anti-corona measures
While the curfews against the poor were draconian, the damage caused by the “lockdown” for the international business location Philippines should be as little as possible. Call centers and other internationally sought-after sectors of Filipino services remained open and were only marginally restricted by hygiene regulations. Not to mention high-ranking personalities from politics and business as well as the police and the military, whose demonstrative non-compliance with hygiene regulations was trivialized as a minor offense.
According to programingplease, the relaxation of the anti-corona measures after the world’s longest “lockdown” allows the population to go about their own business during the day – it is mandatory to wear a mask in public! – and to move at least partially freely. However, a night curfew still applies, the public is still characterized by the presence of heavily armed military, the state of emergency has not been lifted and freedom of expression and freedom of the press are not guaranteed. The measures to contain the coronavirus – like the “War on Drugs” before – serve the Duterte government as a pretext to hunt down opposition members, “undesirable people”, “street rabble” and other parts of society that are perceived as deviant or disturbing. The regime proves once again that implemented emergency measures are no longer withdrawn, but are used permanently against the population.
Fit for travel and the Philippine Ministry of Health Department of Health (DOH) provide information on how to stay healthy and keep fit and which precautionary measures are sensible and / or should be taken. The World Health Organization (WHO) provides additional information.
If you are interested in miraculous and less miraculous faith healers, then be careful of charlatanism. Unfortunately, many Filipinos in rural areas still like to rely on their traditional healers (hilot). Not least for cost reasons; Seven out of ten Filipinos still did not see a doctor during their lifetime.
Medical treatment and medication
Hospitals also accept (uninsured) foreigners. However, the desired or necessary medical treatment / services usually have to be paid for in advance and all prescriptions also cost extra.
Although pharmacies can often be found near the hospitals, in many cases they do not offer the selection and quick availability of medicines as at home. Medicines are very often expensive and you often have to queue for a long time at the prescription counter.
- Asian Hospital – Manila
- Cardinal Santos Medical Center – Manila
- Makati Medical Center – Manila
- Manila Doctor’s Hospital – Manila
- Medical Center – Manila
- Philippine General Hospital – Manila
- St. Luke’s Medical Center – Manila
- Doctors Hospital – Davao
- Chong Hua Hospital – Cebu
- Doctors Hospital – Cebu