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Filipino bayanihan is a myth

Paolo Capino

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Bayanihan is a culture and a trait that Pinoys like telling themselves to make them feel good, especially when they are abroad. We like telling stories about how unselfish we are and that we reach out to people and not allow them to fend for themselves at the most crucial times in their lives.

The community quarantine and the coronavirus crisis just debunked that myth and we all got to see online how Filipinos really are in the midst of an epidemic. We are hoarders and can be labeled as a society of inconsiderate pricks.

There was an online testimony in a community group of BF Homes Parañaque about an elderly single mom who was left to purchase the remaining food on grocery shelves and pharmacies since shoppers purchased an unnecessary number of primary items.

It was heartbreaking especially when you go to Facebook Marketplace, and even online shopping stores, revealing how the likes of rubbing alcohol have marked-up prices with online sellers taking advantage of the desperation to create profit.

We also continue to share unverified information like fake news reports and advisories from supposed experts on our messaging services like Viber, Whatsapp and Telegram. We also like participating in useless hashtags to discredit the military as if they are contributing to the spread of the disease. Leftists and communist sympathizers made sure that the hate is retained against soldiers and policemen.

When you also have the two top officials of the land still not resolving their differences, you will feel how divided we are. The President calling for obedience and the Vice President incessantly criticizing the procedures do not help the people. The pride of these two officials will kill us, and it will take more body count to realize that we all need to cooperate with one another to get through this crisis.

There is hope, however. We see stories about fund drives and donations for our medical personnel who are combatting the disease at the frontlines and providing care for those who are infected by the virus.

We see our barangay health workers and law enforcement officials telling stories about how they are taking multiple shifts at city and municipal borders as they attempt to prevent the entry of the coronavirus in their areas. They might not be successful, but we see their sacrifices first-hand and our country should be grateful to all of them.

The simplest contribution we should give, at least while we are at home and quarantined, is not to scare people by sharing fake memes and data but source information from reliable agencies only.

Our own bayanihan online does not need a grand effort. All we have to do is think critically and avoid sharing useless politicking and harmful information that will lead to wrong decisions and unabated consequences.

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