Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque presented a graph that represents the “hammer and dance” theory to justify his earlier remark on “dancing off” the novel coronavirus in the country.
Roque became the subject of memes and videos anew after he told a reporter that they’ll just “dance” around the worsening novel coronavirus situation during the virtual press briefing last July 7.
A GMA reporter asked him the government’s plan for the coming general community quarantine amid the rising COVID-19 cases.
“The cases, puwede pong dumami sila pero habang pinoprotektahan natin ang mga vulnerable; habang lahat po tayo nag-o-observe ng minimum health standards at habang pinalalawak po natin ang T3 natin eh kakayanin po nating mabuhay amidst COVID-19. Iyan po ngayon ang dapat nating gawin,” Roque said.
“Some will say kinakailangan nating sayawan ang COVID-19. Kasi sa Pilipino, when you have to live with something, sayawan mo na lang pero… iyan po ang gagawin natin. Sasayawan po natin, we have to deal with COVID-19; we have to resume with our economy; and at the same time, protect our people,” he added.
Several Filipinos perceived his response as absurd and immediately turned it into funny memes and TikTok video clips, which made rounds on social media.
When President spokesperson, Harry Roque pertains to COVID-19 and said, “Sayawan mo na lang.”
— #JUNKTERRORBILLNOW (@jamfonclara) July 8, 2020
Other users brought back his previous TikTok video on Twitter, which he shared with the public last March prior to being re-appointed as presidential spokesperson.
"Some will say na kinakailangan nating sayawan ang COVID-19. Kasi sa Pilipino, when you have to live something, sayawan mo na lang."
gantong level po ba ng sayawan para babye covid-19 na? w0wie,,,, https://t.co/Fr7QoDqEKV
— rod | #MassTestingNowPH (@rlromagosa) July 8, 2020
During the press briefing which took place in Davao on Thursday, July 9, Roque said his “sayawan” remark was not literal and argued that it was a part of a new government strategy called “Hammer and dance theory.” He also presented a graph to explain his point.
“Hammer and dance theory—marami po ang nagtatanong na binanggit ko na sayawin ang COVID-19—hindi po literal iyan, kayo naman. Marami pong hindi nakakuha ng sinabi ko at naging subject na naman ako ng memes at binuhay ang aking Tiktok video. Hindi po ito literal na sayaw, ipaliliwanag ko pong muli,” Roque said.
This is not the same context in his previous statement, in which he was talking about living and dancing to cope with the global crisis.
Some Filipinos, however, still found Roque’s attempt to justify himself to the public humorous.
— justine angelo (@gelotine_) July 9, 2020
So what does the hammer and dance theory mean?
Roque first defined the hammer as the government’s decisions during the duration of the quarantine and the dance referred to the approach after the transmission rates have slowed down.
“Ang ‘hammer’ po ay iyong ginawa nating desisyon na magkaroon ng lockdown ‘no, ito po ay para mabawasan nga iyong pagkalat ng virus at kinakailangan nating kumuha ng mga tao para gumamot ng mga tao—iyan po iyong ‘hammer’. Pero iyong ‘dance’ naman po ay kapag napababa na natin iyong banta ng sakit, eh unti-unti na nating bubuksan ang ating ekonomiya,” he explained.
Based on the graph, the recommended process of testing, contract tracing and isolating, which was to supposedly mitigate the COVID-19 outbreak, was placed on the “dance” side.
“Iyong ating R1 [sic], itong tinatawag na ‘R’ ‘no, iyong R-naught ay dapat below 1, magkakaroon tayo ng mas malawakang testing, contact tracing, quarantine at isolation,” Roque said.
“Magkakaroon tayo ng mas malawakang public education sa hygiene and social distancing. Magkakaroon tayo ng patuloy po na pagba-ban sa mga gatherings bagama’t sa mga MGCQ, 50% capacity ‘no. Bagama’t ang karamihan po ng restrictions ay matatanggal na ‘no,” he added.
Roque then concluded his explanation that the country’s situation is currently on the hammer side.
“So ang ibig sabihin po noong Hammer-and-Dance Theory, sa simula ginamit natin iyong hammer – lockdown; ngayon naman po mabubuhay tayo sa kabila po ng COVID-19,” he said.
‘Taumbayan na ang magdedesisyon’
Last Monday, July 6, Roque also made another statement during his regular virtual press briefing.
A reporter asked him about the government’s contingency plan on the massive loss of livelihood of at least 7.3 million Filipinos because of the pandemic.
Roque responded that aside from ramping up the country’s T3 (testing, tracing, treating) capabilities, the decision on what will happen is now up to the Filipinos.
“Dumating na tayo sa punto na taumbayan na po ang magdedesisyon, hindi na po ang gobyerno, kung anong mangyayari sa ating mga sariling buhay at lipunan. Nasa kamay na po natin ang pagkalat kung gaano kabilis ito. Kinakailangan tanggapin na po ng indibidwal, mga komunidad ang responsibilidad at hindi lang po ang national government,” he said.
Several Filipinos juxtaposed this view with his confident assurances to the public in the past, particularly at the time when the country has no confirmed cases yet.