We have no iota of doubt that “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” And we are not putting up any argument against the validity of such dictum under the present situation when the world is placed under a global health emergency situation because of the onset of the novel Corona Virus-Acute Respiratory Disease (nCoV-ARD). The infirmity which has its ground zero in Wuhan, China has already claimed the lives of over a thousand people including the doctor that disclosed its existence to the public.
According to news reports the doctor’s relatives claim he was “silenced” by the Chinese government for allegedly causing panic to the people not just in China but the rest of the world. The World Health Organization (WHO) also reported that almost 50 thousand persons have been monitored infected by the deadly viruses in different countries including the Philippines. The latter already registered one death caused by the nCoV-ARD.
Compared to the health epidemic of old which swept Europe during the era of the empires – the bubonic plague – the number of deaths and afflicted by the nCoV is peanuts. The plague reportedly brought by heavy infestation of rats in the continent killed hundreds of thousands people. The deaths caused by the nCoV-ARD have just breached the 1000 mark the other day.
We are certain that modern medical technology has allowed the early detection of the disease and its possible causes. Moreover, the availability of fast communication systems that link countries and people from all over the world give way for more effective interventions by governments and their health authorities.
Our own government, though somewhat late, appears paranoid over the prevention dictum. It has even gone to the extent of gambling the fate of its economy and foreign relations in the measures it has adopted to ensure that the viruses can be further prevented from spreading in the country.
Yes, there are already cases clearly manifesting the presence of the nCoV-ARD in certain areas of the Philippines. And these are mostly the country’s most known tourist destinations. And who else are the suspected carriers of the viruses but tourists coming from China that include not just the Chinese but also other nationalities whose itineraries have stop-overs in that central Asian country prior to coming to the Philippines.
The bold measure that the government has adopted against the influx of potentially virus-carrying tourists coming from China is by banning their entry in the country. The order has resulted to the suspension of flights to various destinations in China and lately in Taiwan, and vice versa. The same preventive strategy largely affected the Philippines’ tourism industry as well as the country’s import and export businesses that source its raw materials from, and sell its finished goods to China.
While the lead agency in the efforts to contain the entry of the disease is the Department of Health it is clear the country’s leadership has called upon other government agencies to help in the best way they can. Even the local government units are tasked to pitch in their own initiatives to prevent the spread of the nCoV-ARD. That is why in Davao City the mayor has decided to cancel all activities relative to the celebration of this year’s 83rd Araw ng Dabaw. The mayor appears certain that by cancelling activities that would lead to the convergence of huge number of people can be an effective way of stopping the affliction of the disease.
One agency though that we feel is overly paranoid over the onslaught of the debilitating viruses is the Department of Education (DepEd).
Claiming to have taken cue from the DOH and the WHO, DepEd issued Department Memorandum No. 15, Series of 2020. The memo gives the first set of policy directives of Task Force nCoV-ARD which mandates postponing all national and regional activities during the month of February involving learners and teachers, especially those that involve the congregation of massive group of people within and outside of school campuses.
Citing the premise that the “first thing taught in school is compliance with laws and regulations,” DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones have caused the issuance of Department Memo No. 15.
In complying with the same, one public high school (or maybe there are many others) in Davao City has decided to cancel its long-prepared Juniors and Seniors (JS) Prom set on February 29, 2020.But not without the students having paid the agreed amount of contribution each to foot the bills of the food and venue of the prom. And since the activity has long been anticipated most, if not all of those involved have already purchased their agreed clothes to be worn during the affair.
And considering that the JS Prom is one of the most important events in the student’s high school life, some parents may have taken loans just to make their children appear in their best during the occasion.
Of course the cancellation of the JS prom is a precautionary measure. And no one, not even the parents, will argue against it. The question however, is will the students be refunded of their contribution amounting to P1,500.00 each? We heard that the venue management is not committing to refund 100 percent of the down payment for reason only the management knows. If this is so, then the best that the school can do is to divide the refunded amount equally among those who have paid the contribution. And as far as the parents’ expenses for the students’ wear are concerned, may be this can be charged to experience.
But is not having classes where more students converge and mingle with each other inside the campus than those who will be attending the JS prom, prone to the possible spread of the viruses? And what about the annual graduation rites where more people including outsiders and non-students are likely to attend?
Hmmmm…we are starting to entertain ideas that some DepEd officials may be thinking of also doing away with these educational activities.
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