Davao’s ChickenJoy challenge amidst pandemic draws jeers and cheers

May. 30, 2020

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – The distribution of ChickenJoy meals by Mayor Sara Duterte to reward district clusters with the least cases of Covid-19 drew discussions from netizens.

On May 29, the mayor made good her promise made a month ago by distributing 10,000 packs of Jollibee ChickenJoy meals to the five winning districts Baguio, Calinan, Marilog, Toril, and Tugbok.

The event, posted on local news online, drew the casual cheers from local netizens.

Some netizens raised concerns, such as one who said in Bisaya: “This should be given instead to those patrolling the streets or the frontliners as a way of thanking them for their sacrifices.”

Another post said: “Instead of rewarding the people for getting the least (Covid-19) cases, these gatherings would risk an increase of cases.”

Davao Today columnist and University of the Philippines Mindanao professor Malaya Ragragio took the issue of this approach to instill discipline.

On her Facebook post, she said “One of the worse things about this is that it reinforces the idea that discipline is a matter of vulgarly dispensing rewards and punishments.”

But on Sunday afternoon, the City Government issued a statement clarifying that the contest was not initiated by the city.

“The game was a spin-off from the Cluster Wars of social media and a personal move by Mayor Inday Sara to join the social media discussion. It was not a government project,” the statement said.

The cluster wars online came after the city government declared limited movement of Davao citizens in their district clusters. The mayor explained in radio interviews that the ChickenJoy challenge is meant to encourage people to stay at home during the quarantine.

But another UP professor noted: “Not sure if this is to encourage people to stay home or just an attempt keep people distracted from the more important issues.”

Another professor from DMSF, Baian Valdez added: “Discipline in the Philippine context is about seriousness, practicality, and conformity. That’s why I don’t believe in discipline in that context.”

A netizen also remarked: “Unfortunately, instead of taking a cue from sensible mayors like Vico (Sotto) who does things based on science, conscience and hard facts and data, heto ang magiging example. At palakpak naman ang mga supporters (this becomes an example that her supporters would cheer for).”

One netizen disagrees with Ragragio, saying: “It made for a few laughs and some social media fun for us. … nobody really expected anything to come of it, there are more important things for the LGU. Whether we were disciplined or not had nothing to do with stupid Chickenjoy. We can order it anytime if we wanted to.”

One sector that took this issue seriously was the Kilusang Mayo Uno, who earlier appealed to the Mayor to instead provide cash and food assistance for displaced workers to ensure “everyone has joy more than ChickenJoy.”

READ: Provide econ assistance, not ChickenJoy challenge, labor group tells Sara

Ragragio added that what should mark as good discipline is to correct erring public officials who are left unpunished for violating quarantine protocols.

“Notions of and ways of inculcating discipline should instead be moored in ideas of collective good, and fairness and justice. Making sure that Sinas, Pimentel, and Uson got their due would have made a much bigger impact in inculcating discipline than all the Chickenjoy in the universe. Also, ensuring basic needs (food, health, housing) for everyone. That is the job of the state, at hindi magpa-contest (not holding contests).” (davaotoday.com)

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