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Rough Cuts | A ‘cold’ hotline

Last Friday our village, and possibly all other nearby residential areas in Catalunan Grande, Davao City experienced a very long water interruption.
The water disappeared from our faucets at about 8:30 in the morning and the service was only slowly restored starting at about 3 in the afternoon. The water pressure though remained very low even until 5 in the early evening of that day.

We did not know if there was an advisory published in local dailies or circulated through social media. Possibly there was. We just probably failed to read or hear it.

While the duration was really very long it was fortunate for our household to have stored some water in containers. At least we have reserves for use in washing dishes and for comfort room purposes.

But what made our blood boil was the inaccessibility of the Davao City Water District’s (DCWD’s) supposed hotline number and all the numbers provided in its many satellite offices including the main one in Matina. The numbers were listed on the back of the water firm’s monthly bill form.
The 24-hour hotline 297-3293 was busy the whole time we were contacting it. The phone literally became hot since we had to keep it close to our ears for quite long hoping that it would ring at the other end.

We called 235-3293 at the Matina main office; telephone number 221-9400 at the Bajada office. The numbers were either busy or not ringing at all. We’ve got a recorded answer telling us that “Your call is important to us, so we are forwarding it to a call center agent who will attend to your call,” or something to that effect. Then we were advised to wait only to be told that no call center agent is available at the moment. We took it to mean they were busy attending to calls in other trunklines.

And think that this was happening the whole duration that we were waiting for the restoration of the water service.

By six o’clock early evening last Friday, water was still only dripping from our faucets. We already were apprehensive that we have to delay the cooking of our dinner meal.

Should we now have a new definition of a service company’s Hotline Number?

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We have noted that even the heads of the different agencies of national government who were in attendance in the conference called by President Rodrigo Duterte shortly before he issued the government directives to arrest the spread of the corona virus disease 2019, are not in harmony with their interpretations.

One measure adopted is the banning of air, land, and sea travel from Metro Manila to other areas of the country and from there back to the capital region. Simply interpreted, land transportation such as public utility buses and other mode of land transport are to be prohibited from moving people from and to the Metro. For how can people be refrained from going to and out of the national capital region if the public transportation system is to remain available to the traveling public?

And one such contradicting interpretation to that of the President’s intention is that of Land Transportation Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB) chair lawyer Martin Delgra III. Friday morning in a television interview Delgra disclosed that the LTFRB is mandating the installation of hygiene facilities in terminals of public utility buses serving the different destinations in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

In that particular instruction, it is clear that the buses will remain plying the routes transporting people to and from the Metropolitan Manila. Why will Delgra order the bus company managements to put up hygiene facilities if the buses are to stop ferrying people to and from their respective destinations?

Amid the conflicting schemes of implementing the government’s mandate to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the people’s fear appears to be evolving into a paranoia that is eating them up even more that the virus infection itself.

As we said earlier, the CoViD 19 epidemic is also siring another epidemic that so far is taking more toll on the illness-wary population. The people are getting paranoid because they are now also suffering from the effects of the epidemic, or shall we say, pandemic of fear.

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