Duterte weaponizes Filipino custom in the Covid era

Bayanihan, the indigenous Filipino custom of group work, has been weaponized by President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines to advance his own power.

Historically, bayanihan refers to the Filipino tradition of a community coming together to help families physically lift their wooden houses from one location to another. Now the term refers more to volunteering.

But amid a global pandemic, when gathering is the main source of infection, historian Greg Bankoff argues that bayanihan no longer works to help Filipinos overcome challenges. Instead, the traditional practices of bayanihan put people at risk of infection.

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