NAT directive for Filipinos receives backlash, Consulate says order not a ‘political issue’

The Philippine Consulate General in Macau has called on Filipino nationals to heed the new mandate from the local government that requires all Filipinos to undergo a daily nucleic acid test (NAT) from today until Sunday. 

The Macau government received backlash on social media as officials singled Filipino nationals out as more at risk for infection, disclosing they account for 9.5% of the city’s total of 1,795 Covid-19 cases as of July 20.

9.5% is approximately double the proportion of Filipinos in the city, thus they are over-represented in the positive Covid case numbers.

Filipino nationals in the city amount to some 30,000, which is roughly 4% of the city’s population, based on the most recent data provided by the government.  

“Let us avoid making this order a political issue. We should view this as a health issue in the general aims of those in charge to achieve the dynamic zero-covid target,” the statement issued by the consulate last night read. 

“Today’s time and situation demands our calm and a better understanding of Macau’s implemented measures. Our cooperation and support in these steps are key for the safety of the entire Macau society in which we belong,” it added.

In several social media posts about the news, a number of users lambasted the government for imposing a “discriminatory guideline” as authorities believe they they have higher risk of infection.

“I’m not Filipino and I won’t be affected by it but are we actually [going to] accept high level government racism in the 21st century?” said one.

“Unbelievable racist and discriminatory action. As a start – not all Filipinos are helpers, guards, and Food and Beverage workers – but that doesn’t even begin to excuse the prejudice revealed in this policy,” said another.

Although several netizens still expressed their support towards Macau’s implementation of rules to deter the spread of Covid-19, this specific rule seems to make little sense to them.
“Pinpointing nationalities won’t improve the [Covid-19] situation. What about the other 90.5%?” one questioned.

This is not the first time that the government has imposed mandatory NATs based on ethnicity.

Back in October 2021, certain occupational and racial groups of individuals – identified as key groups by the Health Bureau (SSM) – had been ordered to take four NATs in eight days.
This series of tests at the time concerned workers in construction, laundry and security trades, as well as non-resident workers from Nepal and Vietnam. 

Categories Headlines Macau