The pilot episode of “Promdibate” delivers an ‘oks na oks’ entertainment as guest debaters Smugglaz and Bassilyo take a stand on the socially relevant issue, “Saan ka mas takot? Mamatay sa COVID-19 o mamatay sa gutom?” To welcome the viewers, moderators Kim Molina and Jerald Napoles express their own opinion through quick punchlines.
The debate a la fliptop battle officially starts with Bassilyo taking on the ‘COVID-19’ subject and Smugglaz defending the opposing side. Bassilyo takes the floor, highlighting major key points on why COVID-19 is more terrifying than starvation. His first argument explores the struggle of beating the disease compared to the easier efforts to soothe a grumbling stomach. He says there are more ways to fight hunger as opposed to the corona virus that still lacks antidote. Next, the challenge of isolation once infected, “Iwanan ka nga lang ng jowa, iiyak-iyak ka na! Paano pa kaya kung iwan ka ng buong pamilya?,” and the prohibited burial rites for a deceased victim. Besides, signs of hunger are easier to feel and detect unlike the COVID-19 infection which he describes as an invisible enemy, “Para kang bulag na piniringan habang nakikipaglaban ng titigan kay Hollow Man.”
Then, Smugglaz steals the microphone with a strong opening statement, “Mas nakakatakot mamatay sa gutom kahit nasa bahay ka lang at gaano ka man kaingat magdala; kasi bukod sa mamamatay kang nakangaga; siguradong tirik at dilat pa ‘yong mga mata!” He also tackles the struggle of being a third-world country, “Maraming bansang naperwisyo ultimo Amerika; at dahil third world country, hindi tayo ganoon kahanda sa pandemika.” Smugglaz’s next key point touches the issues surrounding local government’s relief efforts and then ends with, “Simple lang ang punto ko kaya akin nang didirektahin. Hindi lang naman virus ang kalaban; minsan tao at sistema din.”
After that intense argument comes the second round! “May pambili ka ng pagkain ngayon, ‘di ba? Kung noon pa lang nag-ipon ka na! Hindi porke’t mahirap mamamatay sa gutom agad. ‘Yung mga taong-grasa walang trabaho ‘yon ilang taon na pero hanggang ngayon buhay pa sila,” Basilio argues. Hunger even becomes an instrument of camaraderie unlike COVID-19 which creates scare and distance, “Subukan mong suminga, umubo o humatsing ka, takbuhan ‘yong mga tao hindi mo alam kung saan pupunta.” And while food shortage only targets the stomach, COVID-19 affects the whole body system, “Sa COVID sasakit ang katawan mo mula ulo hanggang paa, lalamunan mo sobrang kati pa, maghahabol ka ng hininga, bigla ka na lang matutumba.”
Smugglaz replies that not everyone especially minimum wage earners are capable of saving enough for a worldwide crisis, and adds that hunger percentage is just as crucial as COVID mortality rate. Smugglaz closes his rebuttal with, “COVID o gutom? ‘Yan lang ang alam n’yong argumento. Pero kung kami ang tatanungin kung saan kami takot, siyempre sa pareho! Wala namang may gusto kung bakit tayo ganito pero minsan kaya tayo nadadapa dahil sa sistemang may mali ang takbo.”
The two contenders are on-point and sharp with their arguments. But while we may have different opinion about several issues, what matters is we do not allow our opposing views to divide us especially at a time of crisis. Thus, it is important to spread a message of unity, discipline, and respect.
To end the episode, Coco Martin delivers a short message urging the public to cooperate with the government’s efforts.
If you had fun watching this battle, then, don’t miss the next episodes of “Promdibate” and other digital shows on OKS (Online Kapamilya Shows).