Stringent physical distancing measures were not observed in some circumstances over the weekend during the distribution of cash aids and in queues in food establishments during Mother’s Day on Sunday.
Residents of Barangay Bagong Pag-asa in Quezon City lined up outside the Bagong Pag-asa Elementary School on Sunday to receive the national government’s financial assistance through the social amelioration program.
Reports said that they started queuing as early 5 a.m. since May 10 was the deadline of the first tranche of the cash aid.
Low-income families and other qualified households are supposed to receive cash from the Department of Social Welfare and Development through local government units (LGUs) to help them get by amid the enhanced community quarantine.
The LGUs were given until May 10 to completely distribute the cash aid among qualified Filipinos.
Hindi nasusunod ang social distancing sa pagbibigay ng cash aid sa ilalim ng social amelioration program (SAP) ng gobyerno sa Brgy. Bagong Pagasa sa Quezon City. | 📷 : Jay Manahan pic.twitter.com/h4tQaJMyIO
— News5 AKSYON (@News5AKSYON) May 10, 2020
It caught the attention of Senators Joel Villanueva and Sonny Angara who lamented the lack of preventive measures undertaken. Angara described the financial aid queue as “crazy” and “unhealthy.”
Oh my.. Not like this, not like this 💔😭🤦♂️ https://t.co/dNmWFiyWg4
— Joel Villanueva (@senatorjoelv) May 10, 2020
Sen. Win Gatchalian likewise said that the scenario was disheartening to see as he complained how the distribution of the financial aid was not well-thought of.
LGUs and barangays blaming DSWD. DSWD blaming LGUs and barangays. Ang kawawa ay tao. Hindi pinag-isipan mabuti ang ditalye ng proceso ng SAP. Nakaka durog ng puso ang mga eksenang ito. https://t.co/UGMzdLpsjl
— Sherwin Gatchalian (@stgatchalian) May 10, 2020
“Dapat hindi pinapunta ang tao ng sabay sabay. Dapat iba ibang oras at iba ibang araw. Hindi pinagplanuhan ng mabuti ang distribusyon ng pera. Dahil desperado na ang tao, talagang dadagsa sila sa location,” he added.
Others suggested that the cash aid should be distributed “house-to-house” instead so that it wouldn’t be too risky.
In an interview, Barangay Bagong-asa chairman Rodolfo Palma said that they have called the assistance of the Philippine National Police to control the crowd since the residents were reportedly not listening to them.
“Nawawala na sa kanila ‘yong social distancing, physical distancing,” he said.
Francisca Mariano, a city administrator staff, reasoned that their office was not able to open at 2:30 p.m. because some workers in the treasury were reportedly overworked and sleep-deprived already.
“Yung mga iba po, inuumaga. Inuumaga na sila tapos sila, may assignment pa kinabukasan,” she said.
Meanwhile, a number of food establishments in the metro failed to practice physical distancing measures among their customers queuing for orders and pickups of meals and baked goods in celebration of Mother’s Day.
A certain branch of Red Ribbon in Quezon City showed a queue of customers flocking near the entrance of the bakeshop without regard to the preventive measure.
The same instance was observed in a Parañaque City branch of Conti’s Bakeshop where several Filipinos, despite wearing masks, failed to distance themselves from each other as a precaution against the coronavirus disease.
Pictures of the scenario were anonymously sent to social media page South Snippets, a community of Filipinos living in the southern part of the metro.
LOOK: Situation in Conti’s BF Homes in Parañaque. #southAlerts
📸 Source wishes to remain anonymous. pic.twitter.com/5jjyhP8yog
— South Snippets (@SouthSnippets) May 10, 2020
Dining out in restaurants and food establishments are not allowed by the government under the enhanced community quarantine. The government, however, allows delivery services so food businesses have resorted to pickup or delivery services.
While there are delivery apps available to service customers in Metro Manila, some areas are not covered by the app or the establishment.
The importance of limiting physical contact
Strictly practicing physical distancing measures is one of the means in mitigating the spread of the coronavirus disease which has a high transmission rate.
People are supposed to maintain a distance of at least one meter away from each other to reduce contact and limit the possible spread of the deadly pathogen.
Experts said that observing such a preventive measure is crucial for “flattening the curve” or significantly reducing the number of infections in a community so that the health care system wouldn’t be burdened with cases.
In public transportations such as the Metro Rail Transit and the Light Rail Transit, barriers and visual cues have been set in place to help commuters limit close physical contact as much as possible.
In Baguio City, authorities painted portions of the road to help residents maintain distance while going to wet and dry public markets.
The initiative went viral and social media users were quick to remark that visual cues are one of the most effective ways to enforce physical distancing measures.
It caught the attention of Pasig City chief transport planner Anton Sy, who commented that Filipinos can be obedient if there are “good systems” in place.
“Turns out Pinoys behave when we actually design good systems instead of just whining about ‘disiplina!'” he shared on Twitter.
Malacañang said that maintaining physical distance in the public will be a huge part of the “new normal” while a vaccine is not yet available against the viral disease.