By Mario Casayuran
Filipinos ought not to be discriminatory because discrimination is not right.
This was what Senator Sherwin Gatchalian stressed Saturday in the wake of increasing negative sentiments towards China and the Chinese nationals in this time of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) scare.
Gatchalian, chairman of the Senate basic education and energy committees, reiterated that the Filipino people draw strength from being one of the most diverse in terms of race and nationality.
He said he has always believed that discrimination in the country is very low.
Gatchalian pointed out that this is the best opportune time to unite and bury our differences towards a common goal – to put an end to this emerging plague.
‘’Since the authorities announced the first case of COVID-19 in the country, many Chinese-looking individuals were ostracized. Cab drivers, for instance, have refused to pick them up,’’ he pointed out.
‘’It’s no different in some schools. Adamson University earlier advised Chinese students to immediately postpone all transactions in the school until they have observed self-quarantine for 14 days. The university later on apologized for such decision,’’ he said.
Even the social networking sites have been bombarded with anti-China (and anti-Chinese) sentiments, with some saying “Chinese should all be banned in the Philippines”. Online photos were captured in other countries wherein some restaurants post signs at their doors not to allow Chinese from entering their establishments.
“Nakakalungkot isipin na sa gitna ng isang krisis ay ngayon pa tayo magkakawatak-watak. Ang kailangan natin ay magsama-sama para sugpuin ang tunay na kalaban”, he said. (It is sad that this current crisis is causing division. What we need is unity to fight a common enemy.)
“Of paramount concern is the continuing spread of nCoV which spares no one, whether the victim is Chinese, Filipino or any other nationality.
Let us not allow ourselves to get sidetracked by the culture of hate,’’ he added.
Gatchalian says it is not fair for some misinformed people to propagate their anti-China racist sentiments especially that there are a number of legit Chinese business owners here in the country.
Health officials themselves have earlier called for the public to put a stop to the issue of racism, adding it does not help in containing the virus.
“This mounting discrimination against the Chinese is counter-productive. Hence, like the coronavirus, the spread of hate must be contained” he said.