Angara, Gatchalian hit for tweets on COVID-19 situation overseas

April 8, 2021 - 4:04 PM
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Senators Sonny Angara and Sherwin Gatchalian at the Senate (Interaksyon/file photos)

(UPDATED 6:57 p.m.) Some lawmakers tweeted about the worsening pandemic situation in other countries.

Sen. Sonny Angara cited the surge in infections in Brazil and India, whereas Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian mentioned the renewed lockdown in France.

Last April 7, Angara tweeted about how the pandemic is “going wild,” citing the deaths in Brazil and the cases in India.

“COVID is going wild. Brazil 4,000 deaths in a day. India over 100,000 cases in one day. (prayer emoji)” he wrote.

In a BBC report, Brazil is now second to the United States with the most recorded deaths due to the virus which causes COVID-19.

The United States has recorded 555,000 deaths while Brazil recorded 332,000 fatalities.

Moreover, Brazil also recorded more than 13 million infections, according to its health ministry.

India, meanwhile, has more than 12.8 million cases and 166,177 deaths, according to New York Times tracker.

Prior to Angara’s tweet, on April 2, Gatchalian shared a New York Times article about French President Emmanuel Macron’s announcement of a third lockdown in their country.

“We’re not alone… France going into a nationwide lockdown for 1 month despite their huge investment in health and vaccination,” the senator tweeted.

The NYT reported that the lockdown was prompted by scientists and opposition politicians who are pressing on Macron to declare it.

“As the tally of coronavirus deaths pushed relentlessly close to the 100,000 mark, and with the highly transmissible variant first detected in Britain now accounting for two-thirds of France’s new infections, Mr. Macron gave in to scientists and opposition politicians who had been pressing for a lockdown in recent weeks, and joined the list of European nations already hunkering down before the virus,” the report said.

While these countries have tallies higher than the Philippines, the country is also not faring any better as some hospitals are declaring full capacity for COVID-19 patients.

Several studies in the past have also ranked the country as among the lowest or poorest in terms of suppressing the COVID-19 cases.

Last February, ASEAN Studies Center’s “The State of Southeast Asia 2021 survey report” also revealed that a majority or 53.7% of its Filipino respondents disapproved the current administration’s handling of it.

Criticisms

Social media users called out these lawmakers, saying that the tweets do not justify the government’s lackluster response to the crisis.

“O tapos? So are we supposed to feel better because other countries have it worse?” one user said.

“This is so stupid. Pag namatayan ba kayo sasabihin mo ring, ‘ok lang may namatay din sa kapitbahay,’” another wrote.

Writer Katrina Santiago quote-retweeted Angara’s tweet and criticized the senator for merely using numbers in describing the COVID-19 situation in other countries.

“Stop using other country’s numbers to erase the numbers in the Philippines. Populations are different, testing is different, and let’s be clear: THE PHILIPPINES HAS THE WORST RESPONSE because we are suffering through it. Stop these apologias pretending to be prayers for better,” Santiago said.

Another writer Jerry Gracio quipped that President Rodrigo Duterte should be sent to Brazil and India to lower their death rates.

“OMG, that’s crazy! Samantalang sa atin, konti lang ang patay. Sen, padala kaya natin si Duterte sa Brazil at India? Baka mapababa ni Duterte ang deaths nila,” Gracio wrote.

Online users also criticized Gatchalian for relating France’s renewed lockdown with the re-imposition of the enhanced community quarantine over Metro Manila and surrounding provinces.

“Just because we’re not the only country in a lockdown it doesn’t mean that the government’s poor response to covid-19 is justified,” one user said.

“Are you justifying this unusual lockdowns? And that is for a month,” another user commented. 

Editor’s note: The headline and body of the story have been revised for accuracy. It removes an earlier description of the senators’ tweets as comparisons of COVID-19 tallies between the Philippines and other countries.