“Is our country really this poor?” is probably the question on everyone’s mind right now.
On Monday evening, actress Liza Soberano took to Twitter to air her frustration over the lack of relief for the country’s poorest following the government’s call to put Metro Manila and adjacent cities under stricter quarantine measures.
“My heart bleeds for all the people who cannot afford not to go out and work. They literally have to choose between dying of starvation or dying of covid. Is our country really this poor to [not] be able to provide stimulus?? Genuine question lang po,” the 23-year-old actress tweeted.
After posting the highest number of positive COVID-19 cases three days in a row, the government imposed yet another quarantine classification which grouped Metro Manila and the adjacent provinces of Laguna, Cavite, Rizal, and Bulacan into one NCR+ bubble, similar to the Enhanced Community Quarantine enforced at the beginning of the pandemic last March 2020.
Inside the NCR+ bubble, access going in and out the boundary will be strictly monitored, a common curfew will be enforced, and households are instructed to limit their travel to the most essential only. Some businesses have also been ordered to shutter yet again. This left several to wonder if the government would be providing financial aid similar to the tranches given as part of the Bayanihan Heal as One Act last year when Metro Manila underwent a similar lockdown.
However, the Palace confirmed that the tighter restrictions do not call for the distribution of additional “ayuda.” According to Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, this is because people can still technically go to work despite restrictions.
In her follow-up tweets, Soberano cited the case of the United States of America, where citizens have already received their second stimulus checks and are merely waiting for the third. These stimulus checks are issued by the US government to stimulate the economy by providing consumers with financial aid to spend.
She also said that in the US, testing and vaccination are free, which prompted her to ask: “Where is the support for the poor in our country?”
“Madali lang naman po mag-stay at home if everyone has food on the table and money to pay the bills,” Soberano added.
She also retweeted another Twitter user who said that the point of these inquiries is not to “compare financial status [with the US] but to compare where the funds go and how it was spent.” This refers to how the pandemic response unjustly reflects the large amounts that the government has borrowed, which is just shy of P3 trillion by year-end.
In the final tweet of the thread, Soberano sighs out of frustration and leaves it to the people to cling to compassion.
This is the latest in Soberano’s consistent efforts to use her broad platform to bring attention to various issues plaguing the country. Last October, Soberano voiced her support for women’s rights and for victims of gender-based violence while speaking in an online forum that addresses the same. Last July, she was also vocal about her dismay over the government’s relentless effort to refuse ABS-CBN a renewed franchise.