Social Movements and the Pandemic

New Horizon 2020 (May) (2020)
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The COVID-19 pandemic worsens the crises generated by neoliberal capitalism. The “economic resiliency” of the Philippines is not a strength for the struggling masses rather a “financial strength” for the exporter and importer of surplus capital, e.g. the creditors and investors, favoring the few against the many. The lens and jargon of multilateral development banks bear bourgeois morality and myth describing the Philippine economy and the Filipinos “resilient” amid perennial crises brought by neoliberal ideology. Emphasizing “economic infrastructure” over the “social infrastructure”, e.g. public healthcare, the Philippines attracts the surplus capital of foreign investors but not the confidence of the people as bureaucrat capitalists gain from contracts with the government. When COVID-19 strikes, the Filipinos remind themselves of the need for “social infrastructure” in public health. The COVID-19 pandemic is a reminder since the people already recognize the government’s lack of capacity in dealing with regular maladies like dengue. Though many are organizing themselves in addressing the negligence of “social infrastructure” by the government, a lot more clamor individually through social media for quality public service during the pre-pandemic period, amid the COVID-19, and most likely in the post-pandemic time. It is in this context that this practice note asks: how do Filipinos respond to the government’s response and how should they respond amid and during the post-COVID period? The note benchmarks from the theoretical foundations of social movements as it learns from people providing praxis of mobilizations in different countries for the Filipinos to adopt in their activism and to adapt their strategies when dealing with the “new normal”.

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Noe Santillan
University of The Philippines Cebu


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