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I’ve lived in the Philippines since 2009. While there are other foreigners who have resided in this archipelago longer, I’ve been writing and researching about retiring in the Philippines for over 10 years.  Therefore, I have insight on how to survive and thrive in the Philippines if you’re an expatriate. Hence, today’s post: “How Will the COVID-19 Challenge Impact Future Retirees to Philippines?”

The Worldwide Impact

First of all, I’ve never seen such an impact on life in the Philippines and consequently the entire planet, as the coronavirus pandemic. 198 countries and territories have coronavirus cases. Currently, over 468,000 cases and 21,000 deaths worldwide have been reported.

Moreover, at least 20% of the global populations are experiencing COVID-19 lockdowns. The Philippines is no exception.

image courtesy of pixabay

The “Preppers” Were Right

The current COVID-19 crisis gives credence to what survivalists and preppers have been doing for years; being ready to weather and outlast life-threatening situations such as the coronavirus.

Closed by local governments and states are gun shops in the USA, some of which have seen record sales. People are afraid of looters and home invasions. Meanwhile, marijuana outlets remain open as “essential” businesses.

image courtesy of pixabay

Guns & Ammo

Most preppers already own guns and ammos and have fully stocked pantries.  They already have stockpiled such items as N95 respirator facemasks.

Water, MREs (Meals-Ready-to-Eat), and paper maps (in case the Internet blows up and takes down Google Maps) are already in the possession of many preppers.

While for security reasons, I cannot detail what preparations we have already made, we will be able to weather the storm.

Troubling Areas of Concern

Consequently, I wonder how the COVID-19 challenge currently affects retirees and locals in the Philippines. Here are some things that trouble me about the current coronavirus crisis in the Philippines:

Lack of Adequate Healthcare Facilities

The lack of local and national healthcare facilities in the Philippines to deal with the coronavirus is a matter of concern. I’m not going to sugarcoat it. The Philippines is a Third World Country. There’s an extreme shortage of COVID-19 testing kits. However, some privileged politicians in the Philippines have already been tested for the virus.

Guimaras provincial hospital

Senator Breaks Protocol

Furthermore, one senator, already under a self-imposed quarantine, potentially exposed healthcare workers in a Metro Manila hospital. The senator accompanied his pregnant wife to the hospital. The politician claims that he didn’t know he tested positive for COVID-19 until he was already in the hospital. The hospital administration ripped into him for his lack of following protocol.

The Targeting of Seniors

Discrimination against seniors is a sticking point for me. I get it. Seniors, especially those with pre-existing conditions, are at a higher risk of contracting the virus. However, since, I, too, am a senior citizen; I feel that seniors are being targeted. Denied entry in a Metro Manila supermarket were seniors in Metro Manila with quarantine passes.  Those particular seniors had no else to buy groceries for them. What are they supposed to do? Go hungry?

senior citizen in bacolod city

There’s no doubt I’m sensitive about the senior issue, but can’t something be done for those seniors who need help? I’ve read where different volunteer groups in the States are bringing food and necessary supplies to seniors who can’t get out. God bless them.

Emergency Powers for President Duterte

Philippine President Duterte now has new emergency powers. On Tuesday, March 24, 2020, Duterte approved a bill passed by the Philippine legislative branch. The new bill grants Duterte additional powers to address the COVID-19 crisis in the Philippines. That’s according to a report on CNN Philippines. Duterte can now regulate public and private transportation, traffic, and the use of power, fuel, energy, and water.


Will there be an abuse of power?

Duterte’s powers will be in full force for three months, unless extended by Congress, or withdrawn sooner via a concurrent resolution. No President should be denied the power to deal with the COVID-19 crisis. However, there is concern among some Filipinos about a possible abuse of power.

Frankly, I don’t share the concerns that mainly come from the President’s critics. I personally don’t believe he will abuse his emergency powers.

Iloilo City Police Presence

The overwhelming presence of armed police officers in Ortiz Wharf in Iloilo City has alarmed me (pump boat operations have now moved to Parola Wharf in Iloilo.)

While I certainly understand the reason to have checkpoints at all ports of entry, the dozens of officers in camouflage uniforms checking all passengers going to Guimaras seemed to be unwarranted and a case of overkill, in my opinion. Personally, I felt uneasy and somewhat threatened.

Cebu Governor Forms Task Force to Track Critics

Frightening statements from public officials are disturbing. Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia has formed a “special unit” to track criticism of the government’s initiatives to contain COVID-19. This is according to a report in the Cebu Daily News, CDN.

The College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) decried Cebu Provincial Governor Garcia’s response to a school publication’s statement about her deployment of this special unit.

The school’s response

“Today’s Carolinian” (TC), the official publication of the University of San Carlos (USC), published an editorial on Facebook titled “A GOVERNOR IS NOT ABOVE THE CONSTITUTION,” condemning the alleged intimidation of the governor against critics.  

How Will the COVID-19 Challenge Impact Future Retirees to Philippines?

Will the aforementioned scenarios influence any retiree’s decision to move to the Philippines or not? I don’t know. However, be aware that as a foreigner in the Philippines, you don’t have any rights.  Frankly, I don’t care what you might read; again, I’ve lived in the Philippines for over ten years.

Above all, one of the most important considerations you should consider is your own personal health. If you have any preexisting conditions that could put you in danger from any possible future viruses, you might consider staying where you are.

Wait out the Current Crisis

In conclusion, its best to wait out the crisis and see what develops. We’re not planning any trips to nearby Iloilo City although we do have the required quarantine passes needed to travel.

Furthermore, we’re not making any unnecessary trips from our home inside Guimaras. Moreover, when we do go out, we never go out in public without our facemasks.

Be safe. Be alert. This current COVID-19 challenge will pass. While I might be hurting the sales of my bestselling book, “The Philippines Expat Advisor” by not always presenting a very rosy view of life in the Philippines, that’s never been my goal.

I strive to present you with an unfiltered look at the Philippines through an American expat’s eyes, the good, the bad, and the ugly.

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