COVID Surge Linked To Violence

A Chat Room discussion by students from La Salle Technical College on Wednesday highlighted the rise in violence in Papua New Guinea as an indirect impact of rise in COVID-19 cases amid the pandemic.

Five students presented the undeniable finding from during their appearance on the Chat Room on FM 100 Radio station, a weekly programme coordinated by the Social Communication Secretariat of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference in Port Moresby.
The students studying for the National Certificate 1 under the programs of Office Administration, Information Technology and Tourism Hospitality, presented discussion points on the topic ‘Overcoming war on COVID-19 and Violence’.
Highlights of their discussions featured the impact of the pandemic almost like a war. 
They viewed the pandemic as an act of violence, an ‘Unseen Enemy’.  

COVID-19 Pandemic and Russian-Ukraine battle as a war on Two-Fronts; forms of violence caused by the pandemic; effect of social media and spike in misinformation; social impact on families and communities; and a call for parents and adults to support and engage youth in awareness on the harms of ‘Pandemic-instigated violence’.
Christina Heveapu, an Office Administration student, urged society not to take the pandemic lightly by disregarding the safety measures in place. 

“COVID-19 is a transmittable virus that does not discriminate and targets all people especially the elderly who are more vulnerable and it is our responsibility as young individuals to do the right thing,” she said.
“Judging from the 6-million people who died from contracting the virus in 2021, it cannot be denied that COVID-19 is ‘violent’ by nature and the worst part is that it is an enemy we cannot see. For this reason, as individual we have to take precautions by adhering to the safety rules and regulations imposed by our government health officials,” she added.
Tourism and Hospitality student, Mary Koava likened the virus to an ‘unseen enemy’ with its deadly abilities remaining microscopic and unseen to the naked eye. 
“This is the nature of the invisible enemy. It makes us to treat other people with caution because we suspect they might be harbouring the enemy because the virus is unseen,” she stated.
“Across PNG there is now a growing rate of unemployment, a rise in petty crime, depression, hunger, violence in relationships, superstitious beliefs that deaths are caused by ‘Sanguma’ leading to gender-based violence and Sorcery Accusation Related Violence,” she emphasized.
Trisha Boga, an IT student spoke of her personal ordeal when the pandemic first hit the country, it did have a significant toll on her education. 
“We were required to collect notes and assignments from school, and return back home to study. This was a big obstacle because the environment at home was not the same as that in school, and the focus that is needed in studies, from peers, and the supervision from teachers were all absent,” she said.
Making a call to youth and the general public, IT student David Ravu, implored the wise to use modern technology in creating and sharing information. 
“We will only overcome this pandemic and the havoc it is causing by working together responsibly and in unison. This means funds and equipment approved at the level of government needs to tangibly trickle down to the lower levels of all society,” he said.
Meanwhile, Jude Pukohup, Student-Animator of LSTC, said he was impressed by the students’ conversation on the topic and urged the young generation to use knowledge to inform and help society progress forward during these troublesome times. 

Chat Room on 13th April, students from De La Salle Secondary School will discuss ‘Mobile Phones Should Be Banned in All Schools’.

Press Release