Eyebrows raised over a mascot Duterte punching a mascot virus

October 30, 2020 - 4:31 PM
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Mascot of Duterte
A mascot of President Rodrigo Duterte punching a mascot representing COVID-19 in a press conference at Pasay on Oct. 28, 2020. (The STAR/Russell Palma)

A mascot of President Rodrigo Duterte throwing a punch at another mascot representing the coronavirus appeared at a press conference for a joint movement that aims to help the government secure China’s Sinovac vaccine.

The Joint Movement for Free COVID-19 Vaccine on Wednesday held a press briefing and covenant in Pasay led by the World Philosophical Forum Philippines Inc.

The group aims to “help” the current administration in communicating and coordinating with the Chinese government about the vaccine for coronavirus disease that was developed by Sinovac Biotech, a Beijing-based biopharmaceutical company.

The firm’s vaccine, CoronaVac, is undergoing Phase 3 global trials in China and Brazil, with the latter recognizing it as the “safest” and “most promising” among the vaccine candidates so far, according to Sãu Paolo governor João Doria.

Sinovac’s candidate has passed a preliminary review in the Philippines. It has also filed an application to hold clinical trials in the country on Thursday.

Food and Drug Administrator Director-General Eric Domingo said the expert panel had “positively” endorsed the vaccine after its safety profile, effect and study design were reviewed.

As pictures of the mascots at the Joint Movement for Free COVID-19 Vaccine event surfaced online, concerns were raised about them.

“Solusyong medical, hindi comical,” a Twitter user commented in response to the viral pictures with a emojis of a virus and a clown.

“Why not use the money you wasted on this to actually help the country overcome COVID-19,” another online user wrote.

Others saw the mascot tas a form of “propaganda” to supposedly make the chief executive look strong in the eyes of the public as cases continue to surge in the country.

“Does this group really think it can convince China with the use of mascots? Seriously? The only way this use of mascots makes sense is as another propaganda to make Duterte look like a literal action man against COVID-19 among his supporters that have the maturity of 3-year-old kids who think mascots are real people,” he tweeted.

Others recalled another event when the government commissioned a mascot perceived as poorly designed.

Last August, a video clip of a virus mascot being attacked by people with sticks went viral.

The mascot was presented during the launch of the initiative done by San Pablo City, Laguna as safety measures to combat the COVID-19 pandemic on a community level.

RELATED: ‘Fake news’: PNA cries foul over satirical video featuring COVID-19 mascot

The initiative featured in the 30-minute mark of the video involved the use of the “distancing stick” to ensure that residents will observe physical distancing in public.

It was introduced to members of the National Task Force Against COVID-19 and the Coordinated Operations to Defeat Epidemic Team to discuss strategies on mitigating the spread of the coronavirus.

Criticisms touched on the use of resources for entertainment instead of supposedly directly allocating it for public health.