'We went to work for you’: Gov't officials call to Filipinos to stay at home earns backlash

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 23 2020 03:14 PM | Updated as of Mar 24 2020 12:27 AM

MANILA- Mimicking the now-famous call of health workers, some of the country’s top government officials called on Filipinos to stay at home to control the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) 

As Congress tackled the chief executive’s request for additional powers to respond to the pandemic, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año, House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and other lawmakers posed with a sign urging Filipinos to stay at home for the meantime, imitating moves by medical frontliners sharing their photos in social media.

“Together with doctors and frontliners, we went to work for you so please stay home for us,” the sign, made out of Manila paper and cut-out words, read.

The call however backfired, with several netizens criticizing the supposed comparison of government officials to health frontliners who are exposed to the threat of COVID-19.

Some netizens criticized the call as a mere show and called for mass testing of suspected COVID-19 cases, and health workers.

“Actually, school project ito ng anak nila,” activist Teddy Casiño said of the display.

Former Quezon representative Lorenzo Tañada III meanwhile said Filipinos owe the government officials nothing since it’s their job to serve the public.

“We owe them nothing. It is their job to work. They don’t need to hold a sign and announce to the Filipinos that they are working. Akala ba nila na dapat may utang na loob tayo sa kanila? Dapat wala. Self-sacrifice di ba! The doctors and frontliners don’t announce they are working,” he said in a tweet.

On Twitter, among the top trending topics as of 3:00 pm Monday are 'Ang Kakapal,' with many netizens criticizing the officials. 

Others meanwhile turned photos of the display into memes.

Luzon was placed under lockdown until April 12, which meant strict home confinement in all households, suspension of transportation lines, regulation of provision for food and essential health services, and heightened presence of uniformed personnel to enforce isolation procedures.

The Senate and the House of Representatives convened in special sessions Monday, on President Duterte's request, to draft measures against the COVID-19 pandemic.