The placing of the entire country in a health emergency situation as a result of the CoViD 19 pandemic is revealing a lot of things in the character of the Filipinos.
Among the ordinary citizens, the emergency situation shows quite clearly the best in us –our resilience, our courage and determination to survive in the midst of this most terrible crisis that sweeps the nation. The emergency is manifesting our spirit of responsibility towards our own fellowmen.
Many among us are rising to the situation, pooling resources to help respond to the needs of those who are extremely and adversely affected by the crisis. We work hand-in-hand with the government to address the situation.
We have men and women who are giving their best talents and skills out there in the front lines to treat those already infected – our health professionals like doctors, nurses, medical technologists, nursing aides, pharmacists, hospital staff, ambulance men, employees of pharmaceutical firms, etc. There are also those among us who brave the rains and heat of the sun, and the cold or humid nights to implement measures resorted to by the government in order to prevent the massive spread of the virus.
However, the same crisis also manifests the undesirable nature of some among us. There are those who take advantage of the extreme needs of the less fortunate by enhancing their businesses – hoarding supplies and food items and jacking up costs when disposing them to the needy public. The crisis is also a convenient reason for some to discriminate against their fellow Filipinos who are confirmed or even merely rumored to have contracted the deadly disease. They evade them (the CoViD victims – confirmed or not) like the plague itself.
As for our local government leaders the CoViD emergency is also bringing out the most innovative among them. That is why we have heard of mayors having done certain measures considered most beneficial to their constituents now becoming the benchmark for others.
Nevertheless, there are also local government executives who, in their efforts to make their cities, and towns or provinces maintain their status of CoViD-freedom level, are taking up extreme measures that seem to further the misery of people both from their own localities and from their neighboring towns, cities or provinces.
In Davao City for example, we believe Mayor Inday Sara has given her imprimatur on the measure adopted by barangay councils of some of the city’s more developed areas and centers of commerce like Calinan and Toril or Tibungco and Lasang.
We have heard that starting next week barangays like Calinan and Toril are scheduling the marketing days of people residing thereat or in the nearby villages buying their household needs in the earlier-mentioned areas’ markets.
In Calinan, the neighboring barangays and sitios are grouped into clusters and assigned a day starting next week to do their marketing. The purpose of the measure is to ensure that market goers can easily be made to comply with the social distancing order to prevent transfer of the virus from one who may be infected to another.
Another example of this kind of situation and could be considered extreme, is the lockdown imposed by a municipality in Bulacan Province. The municipal mayor has ordered all its borders closed from its neighbors and for its residents wanting to go out of their town for whatever purpose. The chief executive of the town has the four ingress and egress to and from inside closed; all because the mayor is afraid that the CoViD will gain entry to the municipality that would trigger the epidemic among his constituents.
The mayor of the said town does not even allow vehicles transporting food and other related items to its neighboring municipalities or cities claiming that these could be bearing risk of carrying the virus.
And the worst thing that has happened because of this measure by the Bulacan town mayor is that of two siblings whose houses are near each other but are located at the boundaries of the LGU concerned and that of a neighboring city. The one residing in the municipality imposing the border closure cannot even pay his brother a visit. And neither the other can come to his sibling to help or ask for assistance. The best that they can do is communicate through mobile phones and other related gadgets. And if they want to see each other personally they have to go to the road by its borders and shout at each other since there are checkpoints at both sides of the boundary keeping watch of constituents’ movement.
This scenario is very much like that at the South and North Korean borders.
The extreme measure was only adopted by that LGU in Bulacan some four days ago. We have yet to hear of any development resulting from the total isolation of the said town. But one thing we can be certain about. That is, that it will ensure the possibility of a continuing freedom of the municipality from CoViD infection. But at the same time, it is very likely to put its residents in extreme hunger when the local food supplies and other resources for human existence run out.
But again we subscribe to the dictum that in an emergency situation like the one prevailing in the country and all over the world today leaders have to resort to certain measures, including extreme ones, if they feel these will protect the greater majority of the people from sure perdition.
And the measures like the ones adopted by certain LGU leaders are, without doubt, likely to benefit many in the end even as there are those who stand to suffer as well.
This is the situation where we Filipinos are known to stand tall. And we will survive even if bruised to the maximum.