Screenwriter shares ‘poetry of incoherence’ titled ‘The Pill’ using words from Duterte’s nation address

June 17, 2020 - 1:11 PM
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A photo of President Rodrigo Duterte during the national address on June 15 (PCOO/Released)

Screenwriter Jerry Gracio on Tuesday shared a poem with words taken from parts of President Rodrigo Duterte‘s latest national address.

The short poem was similar to the popular “The Kit” released by Filipino writer Mixkaela Villalon wherein she also took some parts from Duterte’s ramblings during a press conference last March. 

In a late-night televised address last June 15, Duterte claimed that there is a “miracle pill” likened to an antibiotic that could kill the virus which causes COVID-19.  

Duterte appeared to be rambling anew when he was describing the supposed COVID-19 pill.

“The only way to fight COVID is vaccine or iyong maybe ‘yung miracle pill that would kill just as an antibiotic would kill a bacteria. But itong virus cannot be killed by antibiotic. Katawan mo talaga ang mag-produce ng antibodies. Now there is a pill, I hope it’s true na parang lalaban and it can maybe sabi kill the…” Duterte’s speech transcript read.

Iyon ang maganda. ‘Pag iyon ang dumating, ‘pag available na, mag-order na ako ng — then I will distribute it. I will personally supervise the distribution. Ako mismo. I will supervise the distribution of the — or whatever there is para to guarantee that everybody gets a fair share of the medicines and the medical care,” he added.  

Gracio, a three-time Palanca awardee, then posted a poem-like structure using Duterte’s words.  

He titled this “The Pill” and captioned it a “poetry of incoherence.”

In the Twitter thread, an online user commented and recalled some lyrics from “Just Like a Pill,” one of the hit singles of US singer P!nk.

Veteran journalist and National Union of Journalists of the Philippines chair Nonoy Espina described it as a “stream of unconsciousness.”

Other online users compared “The Pill” to “The Kit” poem which was also inspired by Duterte’s rhetoric in public addresses.  

The words from “The Kit” came from Duterte’s confusing response on whether there are enough testing kits in the country last March, around the same time COVID-19 cases started increasing in the country. 

Villalon’s piece was shared by another Filipino writer Rolando Tolentino on Facebook.  

Is there really a cure for COVID-19? 

As of the latest update on June 16, the World Health Organization said it is still working on a vaccine to prevent the highly communicable virus.  

It has 11 COVID-19 candidates for the vaccine, which are all still in different phases of clinical evaluation, and 128 more candidates waiting at pre-clinical evaluation.  

A comprehensive data of WHO titled “Draft landscape of COVID-19 candidate vaccines” said that some of these contenders have previously been used to other coronavirus strains and pathogens such as Ebola, MERS and SARS.  

In terms of cure, experts from the United Kingdom announced that dexamethasone, which is a cheap and common steroid, could treat patients seriously ill with the deadly virus.  

BBC reported that the dexamethasone benefits high-risk COVID-19 patients.  

The drug is already used to reduce inflammation in a range of other conditions, including arthritis, asthma and some skin conditions. And it appears to help stop some of the damage that can happen when the body’s immune system goes into overdrive as it tries to fight off coronavirus,” the article said 

The preliminary results of the trial called “Recovery” trial showed that the drug can reduce death rates by around a third, thus considered as a major breakthrough amid the pandemic.  

Community quarantine remains

In the same speech, Duterte announced the extension of the general community quarantine for the National Capital Region until June 30. 

Meanwhile, Cebu City is the only province under enhanced community quarantine, which was the strictest lockdown phase. Talisay City, Cebu, on the other hand, was placed underthe modified ECQ until the same date.  

2019 Bar topnotcher Kenneth Manuel expressed disappointment over the pattern or “cycle” of Duterte’s speeches every 15 days.  

Parang taga-announce na lang sila kung anong klaseng quarantine meron tayo tapos poof wala na hintay na lang ulit tayo 15 days announce ulit then sprinkle a lot of controversy and injustice in between and the cycle goes on,” Manuel said.