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Rough Cuts | A DCPO program we miss

We can only imagine how people’s paranoia on the coronavirus disease 19 (Covid 19) pandemic has made lives even more uncomfortable to certain individuals.

One example is that of a nurse working in the Island Garden City of Samal (IGaCoS) who was reported to be manifesting some of the symptoms of the dreaded disease. While the nurse was the beneficiary of the concern of the local officials of the island city, she/he was immediately bruited about as “victim.”

No less than the youthful IgaCoS mayor himself, in a television interview said he made sure that the nurse was taken to the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) for medical examination and confinement should her/his condition warrant.

The good mayor may not know it that when he disclosed to the media the course of action he took he was already giving some degree of truth to the rumors mongered around by the ever observant public who may not be correct in their interpretations of things most of the time. So, last Thursday morning when the interview with the mayor was conducted by television reporters, the nurse was already the subject of loose talks as the “first” CoViD case in the island.

Of course our take on the mayor’s action is that he did what is necessary to ensure that his city remains free of the dreadful virus. That is, if indeed the mayor was already ordering the contact-tracing of those people that the nurse may have in close contact with.

But possibly, the somewhat less discreet handling of the people ordered by the mayor to do the contact-tracing, and the top IGaCoS official’s subsequent disclosure to the media of the potential CoViD case were most unfortunate for the nurse. Imagine, the health front liner in that island city, by that time, was already subject of potential discrimination!

Luckily though, the nurse was tested negative of the virus which result came out in the afternoon of the very same day the IGaCoS mayor made the suspected case in his island city public. In other words, the symptoms she/he was feeling were simply those of ordinary illnesses that normally afflict overworked and overstressed individuals.

Indeed, our paranoia of the pandemic, oftentimes saps our strength in fighting the virus. And in the case of the IGaCoS nurse, she/he was already a CoViD 19 victim even if in reality she got none of the debilitating virus.

And what could even be more painful from such misfortune is the possibility that the misjudgment could end up making the health emergency front liner unreasonably evaded by the CoViD-wary public many of whom – us included – are far from knowledgeable on how the deadly virus had evolved.

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In Cagayan de Oro City we learned, again through a television report of the GMA’s One Mindanao news program, of policemen assigned in the Lumbia police station showing their brand of kindness during these most trying times of our country.

The policemen, after learning of the difficulties of an elderly couple in coping with the hardships of life under the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), showed that they are not just the uniformed men out to enforce the laws and maintain peace and order, but also human beings capable of empathizing with those who badly need commiseration.

According to the report, the Good Samaritan efforts of the Lumbia police personnel was hatched when one of them saw the 75-year-old husband fetching water from a source far from his residence. The policeman was part of a team patrolling in an area of that barangay in Cagayan de Oro City. Upon seeing the old man visibly hard up in carrying a 5-gallon container full of water, the youthful police officer came to the rescue. He carried for the old man his container up to his shack that was nearly collapsing to the ground.

It could be his patrol team’s report on the matter that immediately goaded the station commander to mobilize resources to help the elderly couple.

The station’s personnel, led by the policeman who initially helped the old man, went back to the couple’s dilapidated hut. They brought with them food packs including one half sack of rice. The station’s policemen came back days after and took turns in fixing the couple’s abode using indigenous materials like bamboos. And they made a commitment to sustain the couple’s needs.

The Lumbia policemen’s Good Samaritan work reminds us of a program on social responsibility launched by the Davao City Police Office (DCPO) during the watch of then City Director Michael John Dubria who is now head of the PNP unit supervising operations of private security agencies.

Then Colonel Dubria’s program was part of the DCPO’s efforts in reaching out to the people under the DCPO jurisdiction. It was implemented through the city police office’s Community Relations unit.

 It was through that program of now Brig. Gen. Dubria that members of the city police took time out visiting blighted communities not to hunt criminals but to make the people feel the cops are one among them; that they are around to serve.

The DCPO policemen then found time to visit old people in the city’s various facilities for the elderlies; children housed in half-way houses to cheer and give gifts that they may have sorely missed from their own loved ones and relatives.

 We can only hope that this kind of heart-warming program would merit a revival under the present watch of the DCPO, especially at this time of a very serious worldwide health crisis.

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