HR1109: The Real Pandemic

The UP Manila University Student Council

Statement on House Resolution 1109 Calling for a Constituent Assembly

The past weeks have seen the emergence of a novel viral disease – the Influenza A (H1N1). Many people became worried, others remained calm and confident, a few others have been infected, and one Filipino who works for the House of Representatives had died of complications.

With H1N1, Filipinos reacted differently. But as we begin to face another, more serious threat to our nation’s health – a disease that can quickly spread and grow into a pandemic like H1N1, we as a people must react – and act – collectively. Now is the time to build the preventive measures against this emerging sociopolitical epidemic.

The House of Representatives Resolution 1109 is the most pressing and rapidly growing disease that inflicts our national society today. Last June 2, 2009, this ‘social virus’, which we would like to call ‘HR1109’ in accordance to conventional naming of influenza strains, contaminated our legislature, bringing about a constellation of ‘signs and symptoms’ – the untimely and ‘acute onset,’ or rather railroading, of the resolution, without even conducting a nominal voting; the attempt to paralyze the Senate by not including them in the Constituent Assembly – the body that should be responsible for revising the Constitution; the inability of the legislators to consult as many people as possible regarding changing the Constitution; and the potential to prolong the hold of tyrants in office due to the transition stage associated with a shift to parliamentary government. All these ‘disease manifestations’ are indeed horrible and unacceptable.

In public health, it is important to investigate the mechanism by which a disease occurrence starts and spreads. If the Con-Ass is the disease, the causative agent is a virus that, just like H1N1, is a fusion of different viral components – deception, greed, corruption, unlawfulness, and oppression. Viruses can spread by direct contact or droplets, but the virulent elements of Con-Ass are transmitted by vectors – the members of the House of Representatives who voted for the passing of House Resolution 1109. These vectors are nurtured not by stagnant waters or barks of trees, but by those in power who desire to perpetuate their regime.

No antiviral drug can eradicate this dreaded social virus – only our total and collective opposition can slow down, prevent the contagion of, and eventually, totally eliminate this virus that attempts to kill the very foundations of our democracy. At first we thought we cannot battle against H1N1 – but we realized that healthy lifestyle and proper etiquette are the cornerstones of prevention. HR1109 and all its associated ailments can also be easily overcome – if we work together, here and now!

Therefore, we, the University Student Council of the University of the Philippines Manila, the National Health Sciences Center of the Philippines, call each member of the University – students, faculty, administrators, staff – and all Filipinos to remain vigilant of the events that will unfold in the coming weeks and months and to spread the virus not of Con-Ass, but of freedom and opportunity by educating each other about the presentation and complications that this fearful but avoidable disease may bring about. Participation in social movements and activities that advocate real change and genuine progress – not through Con-Ass but through active and participative democracy – is also key to effective ‘infection control.’ By registering and voting for the 2010 national elections, we declare our distaste for Con-Ass and other attempts to prolong the ‘infection’ brought about by officials who desire not national growth, development, and survival, but senility, disability, and death. While public health experts remember the pandemics that killed millions in the past, let us also put these ambitious parliamentarians in mind and avoid them in the upcoming 2010 elections. In this way, we can be assured that our country will be declared ‘disease-free’ in the future.

The Philippine health system headed by the Department of Health together hospitals, medical schools, and research institutions, including UP-PGH, responded adequately to H1N1 through a complete armamentarium of education, infection control, and early diagnosis and treatment. With the same collective effort and unified stand as land-loving people, we can disinfect our towns and cities – our beloved Philippines – from Con-Ass and Cha-Cha – our nation’s real pandemic.

June 25, 2009

UP Manila

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