The coronavirus pandemic has become a political and social justice issue, as well as a public health issue, in some places around the world. Among those places is the Philippines. Analysts have expressed concerns about the authoritarian approach to combatting the virus taken by Philippines President Duterte (see Article 1, Article 2, and Article 3). As in most places, restrictions on movements have had disproportionate impacts on the financial state and food security of those who rely on daily wages to buy their daily bread. Moreover, there have been instances of the government disrupting aid to the poor and even jailing those distributing the aid. The National Council of Churches in the Philippines has condemned these moves by the government.
Amid this situation, Filipino United Methodists have been expressing concern for the impacts of the virus and the government's response on the most vulnerable in Filipino society.
Deaconness Norma Dollaga has written several pieces on this theme. She has lifted up the need for food for the poor amidst the crisis and the necessity of incorporating social justice into the government's response to the pandemic.
Dollaga has also reported on an Easter Sunday visit by her organization, DAMBANA (Damayahan Simbahan sa Panahon ng Disaster), and the Promotion of Church People’s Response to an impoverished area of Manila impacted by the pandemic. Relatedly, Prof. Lizette Galima Tapia-Raquel highlighted the plight of the poor and oppressed in her Easter message for the Promotion of Church People's Response.
Deaconness Darlene Marquez-Caramanzana has pointed out the intersection of social distancing restrictions and privilege.
Gladys Mangiduyos, writing for UMNS, has shared a story about United Methodist pastors facing increased government harassment while in quarantine for their social justice work.