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Rough Cuts | Woe to our Cebu City

We cannot help but think of Cebu and its capital Cebu City every so often. We were from there and most of the other members of our family still live in that city. In fact one of our two sons now resides in a suburban area of that city after he got married to a Cebuana from Bantayan island.There are a lot of things we can compare that place with our Davao City where we have been residing for decades now.

As in the past we somehow felt that Cebu City is luckier than Davao City. That place has, for several times, been put in the limelight because of some major infrastructure projects that have been implemented by the government. As examples, we in Davao had long envisioned a bridge that will connect the mainland to the Island Garden City of Samal, a known tourist destination in the Davao Region. Though not part of our city, every tourist who comes to Samal has to first set foot in the city upon arrival from their point of origin and when he or she goes back home by boat or airplane.

But even as the talks of the multi-billion pesos Samal-Davao bridge project started as early as the seventies, it’s been half a century since and still the realization of that infrastructure remains at the “talk level” until now. Of late though, there are indications that under the administration of a Davaoeno President this proposed span will have nowhere to go but eventual implementation; soon, many are hoping.

In Cebu however, a third bridge project connecting the mainland to the progressive tourist island of Mactan is already being constructed. And even as the construction is closed to the halfway mark, a fourth bridge spanning the island and Cebu City is already provided a funding source and could soon start its implementation. Good thing that together with the funding package is the money intended for the Samal-Davao bridge project, according to published reports.

Another basis for comparison between the two cities is when the Corona Virus Disease (CoViD 19) pandemic struck starting in the first quarter of this year, we thought then that again Cebu City had an advantage over our Davao in terms of preparation and health facilities. Why because in the initial weeks of the pandemic Davao City has more reported cases of the disease. Cebu City hardly had any. In fact our siblings in Cebu keep on asking for our health status and warning us to be extra careful with the CoViD 19.

Now into the fourth month of the prevalence of the dreaded CoViD pandemic Cebu City is back in the limelight. But the situation is reversed. That central Visayas top metropolis is the current subject of national news and commentaries, and even of the attention of the national government. No, it’s not because of another major development project completed. It is because the city now gains the distinction of the only remaining place in the entire country that has remained under the very strict Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) category in the midst of the fight against the deadly pandemic.

Imagine, after the city’s quarantine category was downgraded from the ECQ to the General Community Quarantine (GCQ) it was reverted to its former ECQ? And the only one at that since June 16, 2020!

And think of this latest development: The President had to send another Department Secretary to oversee the efforts of Cebu City in fighting the fast resurging pandemic in the area. Yes, Secretary Roy Cimatu of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), also a retired Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff, is now in Cebu City with the mission of leading the battle against the deadly unseen enemy even as he has to find out the weaknesses of the current battle strategy being adopted by the city’s political and health officials.

Meanwhile, even as our Davao City is still under the GCQ, the efforts of our local government officials in coordination with national health authorities and the local leadership of the Inter-Agency Task Force against CoViD 19 clearly succeeded in slowing down the spread of the dreaded virus. Maybe we can even claim we are on our way to victory given the present figures of new cases, zero death, recovered patients, and of course a number of CoViD 19 testing facilities and equipment now in harness.

As to discipline of the people, again the numbers of CoViD 19 incidence could be considered safe parameters. As the saying goes, “Prevention is always the better option.” That is why the government wanted all restrictions under the quarantine regimes, be this the ECQ, the GCQ or the modified ones, complied with. To ensure that this is done strict implementation of the various attendant health protocols must be enforced.

In our Davao City, again the numbers are clear indicators. Sadly in Cebu City the figures manifest otherwise. So with the CoViD 19 data in both cities, comparison as to the level of discipline of the population would not be a hard job. The figures of new cases, deaths, recoveries, and interventions by national authorities unveil the true discipline levels of the people in the herein-mentioned metropolis.

Woe to our Cebu City.

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