A vlogger has gone viral for accusing politicians of taking advantage of “VIP testing” for COVID-19 while others are forced to wait days as another three deaths were reported today.
On a day that saw confirmed cases rise to 636 and fatalities to 38, Mark “Macoy” Averilla told Coconuts Manila that he made the cheeky video because he’s worried about health care workers on the frontlines.
This past Sunday, he got the net’s attention with a video in which he pretends to explain to a highly-placed friend over the phone why she can’t be tested ahead of everyone else.
“Hey sis, what can I help you with? Uh-huh, what do you need? Test kit? Why, why do you need test kits?” says Averilla, sporting a headset. “Didn’t you and your family just get tested? And weren’t you negative? Why do you need another test?”
After pretending to listen to his pal awhile, he takes on a shocked tone at her response.
“What? You’re so shameless! Yes, you know sis, the people who need test kits now are persons under investigation [PUIs] and persons under monitoring [PUMs], as well as our frontliners who are health workers because they are vulnerable to COVID-19. Yes, they’re the ones who need it— not you!” he says before proceeding to rattle off the names of the politicians who have reportedly been tested.
And then he delivers the ultimate sucker punch:
“And sister, please tell one of your friends, the one in Malacañang [Palace]? He shouldn’t ask for more powers. He already has powers. What else does he need? Diamonds from the air? Diamonds from the ground? Mjulnir the hammer?”
“He shouldn’t ask for more powers. He already has a lot, but nothing is happening,” he adds.
Averilla is referring to President Rodrigo Duterte of course, who was recently given additional powers by Congress, purportedly to deal with the crisis.
— macoyDubs #MassTestingNow (@macoydubs1) March 22, 2020
Averilla, 27, told us he created the video after learning that politicians were allegedly cutting in line to obtain tests ahead of health workers and patients, some of whom have died before obtaining their results. The allegation has been denied by the Department of Health, although they admitted that they extend “courtesy” to some government officials when it comes to testing.
“It makes me sad because we lack test kits already and VIP testing should not be tolerated and we should prioritize the testing of PUIs and PUMs,” Averilla said in an email exchange.
“I’m more worried for our frontliners because they are most exposed to the virus. I really hope as well that our country can bounce back from the pandemic because we can see that our economy will slow down,” he wrote.
He said the same video which was shared on his Facebook account vanished after it was mass reported by netizens, many of whom he thinks are members of Diehard Duterte Supporters, a fervent base of the president’s loyalists. He also said he was forced to deactivate his personal Facebook account after receiving many hate messages from the group.
“I realized that no matter how you speak about the truth and reality, people will still criticize you because your ideals are different,” he said.
But instead of being completely fazed by his critics, Averilla is putting up a brave front.
“To those who are sending hate messages and death threats, you are wasting your time because I can’t make time to respond to all of you. Also, there is nothing wrong when it comes to telling the truth,” he said.
Have you seen videos calling out politicians for how they have handled the COVID-19 pandemic? Share it with us by tweeting to @CoconutsManila.