2020 Q3 Cityscapes Features

Who’s Out In A Face Mask Society?

Whenever I go to a mall, I always see the signages “No Face Mask, No Entry” and “Observe Social Distancing”

Whenever I go to church, I always see the signages “No Face Mask, No Entry” and “Observe Social Distancing”

Whenever I go to school, I always see the signages “No Face Mask, No Entry” and “Observe Social Distancing”

Almost everywhere I go, I always see the signages “No Face Mask, No Entry” and “Observe Social Distancing”

But I just wonder if you ever wondered the same as I do.

Have you ever wondered how people who depend on lip-reading would participate in the daily interactions in our society if almost all are wearing face masks?

Have you ever wondered how blind people who depend on tactile operations will be apart from society because of social distancing?

Have you ever wondered how people who have mobility issues continue to be challenged in applying for a job since those who have no mobility issues also work from home?

Have you ever wondered how people with pre-existing conditions suffer more because of the new policies implemented for their follow-up check-ups or medical consultations?

Have you ever wondered how people who live in the streets embrace the doubled fear for their lives since they are homeless and no one’s protecting them from the virus?

Have you ever wondered how pregnant women handle themselves to take extra precautionary measures?

Have you ever wondered how senior citizens long for a short talk with their children who are focused much on social media engagement?

Have you ever wondered how indigenous peoples continuously fight for their rights as they struggle to get aid from the government and other private institutions because of their ethnicity?

If it is hard for them before, it will be harder for them today.

And let’s not forget that we have a new set of PWDs.

Those who have no Internet connection or resources to digital access of things, how can they participate in a virtual world?

Those who have no skills or haven’t learned yet or struggle to learn the online thing, how can they participate in a virtual world? Those people who until now have no supply of electricity, how can they participate in a virtual world?

At the surface, it seems that the pandemic is a health problem, but at its core, it’s a socio-economic one. It’s true that the most affected here is the poor and vulnerable sector of our society. As long as the gap between the rich and the poor increases, the road to equal protection of rights and equal opportunities will be far from becoming a reality.

Have you ever wondered what are you doing right now?

Emmanuel John Pangan
"Fray Emman" once lived as a Dominican aspirant for almost two years. He left the seminary life in 2013 and pursued AB Mass Communication at Wesleyan University-Philippines. Right now, he is writing his thesis in Master of Arts in Education major in English at the same university. He was a former proofreader at The Daily Tribune, a newspaper company in the City of Manila. Currently, he teaches Mass Communication and Social Sciences courses at his beloved alma mater. A member of Philippine Political Science Association and cofounder of Samahang Lazaro Francisco, a literary writers hub in Nueva Ecija, he still involves himself in church works particularly in Mercy Ministry, the Catholic Diocese of Cabanatuan Hospital Chaplaincy’s official arm which aims to seek and help former church workers who are now sick. Most important, he is living happily with his parents Jasmin and Jaime, siblings Eliza and Joseph, and grandparents Yoly and Bering in the peaceful barrio of Liwayway.

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