Lockdown in the Philippines: In the land of locked children

On day 324 of the quarantine, two policemen stand in front of a slum in the port district of the Philippine capital Manila and check drivers and passers-by who do not adhere to the corona rules. Recently, passengers not only have to wear protective masks, but also plastic visors. Those who refuse have to pay a fine. The officers were very busy on this February morning, stopping cars and handing out parking tickets. An archway arches behind them: “Welcome to Happyland” is written on it. From here a narrow street leads into a parallel world in which the poorest people of Manila live in the garbage and on the garbage.

“Happyland” is a slum area that has formed around a landfill. 23,000 people live here crowded, without sanitary facilities. Nobody wears a mask or visor. Half-naked children romp under a tangle of power cables and clotheslines, jump screeching into the stinking broth of the harbor basin. An ice cream seller pushes his little cart through the streets, a trader sells statues of the Virgin Mary.

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