Remember the time when we had the whale of a time at school, at a party, or while in a getaway then one day, streets, villages, and highways became like a ghost town because no one is getting outside their homes?
Well, we haven’t noticed that it has been a year and a half since we were confined to our homes for several months, and until today, on and off checkpoints and border controls are being implemented due to the threat of coronavirus disease.
Some of our dreams were delayed, some were still stuck in the place and situation, while millions of our fellowmen barely make a living.
It is exhausting to think about all the things that we are going through and it is suffocating that we cannot go out of town or country due to strict COVID-19 checkpoints and border control.
It is like we are imprisoned in our town and there is always an interrogation whenever we are trying to move in and out of borders in our province or city.
We understand that the government is imposing checkpoints and border control to limit the movement of people going from one place to another. It is one of our country’s major ways to minimize the risk of spreading the virus.
Here are the five advantages and disadvantages of COVID-19 checkpoints and border control that we have to deal with while we still have the threat of the deadly virus.
Advantages of COVID-19 Checkpoints and Border Control
Although some citizens are totally against the idea of checkpoints and border fencing due to the inconveniences that the restrictions may bring, there are several advantages that we could benefit from.
1. Minimizing risks of the rapid spread of the virus
The main reason why we are shutting down borders is to minimize the spread of the virus. Limited movement lessens the chance of infection. The border restrictions force people to stay at home and prohibit the chance to transmit the virus from one country to another. The same thing goes with slowing down the spread locally.
2. Declining COVID-19 related deaths
According to the World Health Organization, there is a significant decrease in COVID-19 deaths when countries started to fence their borders and this proves that the travel restrictions help keep the pandemic under control. The low volume of people going in and out of borders makes it easier for the government to manage the pandemic.
3. Preventing healthcare system to collapse
It is horrifying to think about how our hospitals are already at their full capacity while other patients are at the outside vicinities fighting for their lives. Without COVID-19 checkpoints and border control, the current situation of our healthcare system will be much worse.
4. Bending the curve
Who am I kidding? We all know that we haven’t bent the curve yet even with the imposed travel restrictions but if it will be paired with a more competent pandemic response, then we will be able to see how this step actually works just like in other countries.
5. Saving up government’s resources
Limited people movement avoids super-spreader events and if surging of COVID-19 cases will be prevented, then there will be lesser expenses for COVID-19 pandemic response, hence, saving up our country’s resources (…and only if the public funds will not go straight to our leaders’ bank accounts *winks*).
Disadvantages of COVID-19 Checkpoints and Border Control
As much as we want to keep everyone safe, the limitations also come with disadvantages while we are prioritizing our safety. Many lives are affected due to the heightened restrictions and here are some drawbacks that we are facing today.
1. Disrupted businesses and higher unemployment rate
Thousands of local businesses chose to shut down because they cannot paddle through anymore with the sinking economy. Pandemic brings a rough time for entrepreneurs and employees which causes millions of Filipinos to lose their jobs as many businesses, even the biggest ones, filed bankruptcy and permanent closure.
2. Economic recession
The Philippines also experienced an economic recession once again after 29 years as strict lockdowns were imposed. Our country is known for having the longest and highly militarized lockdown in the world according to WHO. COVID-19 checkpoints and border control devastated our country’s economic activity.
3. Hardly impact the poor and marginalized communities
If the rich entrepreneurs are badly affected by the pandemic, what more when it comes to the disadvantaged sectors in our country? Closing the borders and tightening checkpoints also worsen the situation of the poor people because there will be lesser opportunities for them if businesses are closing as well. Also, the financial aid coming from the government is not enough to sustain millions of families who were displaced due to these restrictions.
4. Fewer job opportunities
Due to the inevitable closure of many businesses in our country, many Filipinos are now afraid to take risks in opening up businesses in the middle of the pandemic because there will be fewer consumers due to travel restrictions. Fewer investments mean fewer job opportunities and while online jobs are so in demand today, only those who are privileged enough to afford Internet connectivity and necessary gadgets/equipment could have the chance to get virtual jobs.
5. Less-competent graduates and professionals
Schools were shut down and classes were taken online. On-the-job training for graduating students was also banned that is why many students graduated without the real-life experience and training that should have been given to them if there were no pandemic. Due to a lack of experience in practicing their skills, graduates may become less competitive compared to those who graduated before the pandemic.
COVID-19 Checkpoints and Border Control Final Thoughts
Jobs, lives, good health, and opportunities are some of the things that were taken away from us due to COVID-19 checkpoints and border controls. It is actually draining to stay at home for more than a year now and our mental health is being at risk as well.
Even though we badly want to go to some places to breathe and to keep ourselves sane, we just can’t.
It seems like a never-ending cycle of easing and tightening lockdowns and it feels like years of our lives will be wasted because of the pandemic.
Look at us now, still isolated in our homes, got nowhere to go, yet restless. Whether we are in favor or not with checkpoints and border controls, there will always be a price to pay so we just have to choose the lesser evil.
After all, whatever choice we’ve got, we will both benefit and suffer from it, and that is what makes it more frustrating.
See border restrictions imposed by the DFA can be seen here.