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ROUGH CUTS: Immediate clarification is needed

THE other day, Monday, September 14, forty seven (47) persons were tested positive of CoViD 19 in Davao City, according to television reports sourced from the regional office of the Department of Health. This figure brings the total number of CoViD cases in the city to 1,580 as of that day.

The good thing though is that only 228 of the cases are active and recoveries number to 1,293. The fatalities, according to the report, total 59 persons.

Even a cursory look into the numbers will indicate that the health authorities in coordination with the local government unit of the city are gaining, even if slowly, in the fight against the deadly virus.

Yes, with the number of recoveries closing in on the total cases, as well as the slow rise in the number of persons who succumbed to the infection, it can be deduced that the measures being adopted by the authorities in Davao City are appropriate as these are effective.

But of course the 47 new cases last Monday should not be ignored. The local front liners in the battle against CoViD, as well as the people themselves, should not be lulled into complacent. The virus is still very much around in the city and no one knows who the carriers are and where they are moving around.

Proof of this was the report that an entire family in Mati City, Davao Oriental was tested positive of CoViD 19. And accordingly, some of the family members had recent travels to Davao City.

So, as the city is well on its way to the reopening of its economy the leadership should not relax its guard. It has to remain vigilant and continues to implement the various health protocols. It has to be stringent in making the people follow what are prescribed in the preventive measures. Meaning if violations have corresponding punishments these have to be heaped on the violators.

Of late, we are dismayed at the wanton display by some people of their disregard of the protocols. Imagine many families find it fitting to post on Facebook video footages of birthday parties, group bike riding, road trips, trekking on rivers and creeks! And those involved did not even have any qualm in showing pictures and video shots with them not wearing any face mask or face shield. Worst, they seem oblivious of the social distancing protocol.

How sad really that when government started easing some of the restrictions in order to re-open the economy, some people take it as a signal that they now have the right to do whatever they want. And seemingly, they are unmindful of the risks that their perceived regained freedom of movement can bring on them and the rest of the city’s population.

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There is this very disturbing piece of information disclosed by Datu Bago awardee Bro, Karl Gaspar of the Redemptorist Order. This is from an item he wrote in his column with MindaViews, the opinion component of the news outfit MindaNews.

According to Bro. Karl in his column, there are initiatives by some individuals, presumably with the blessings from the city government, to market Magsaysay Park, one of only four public parks in downtown Davao City, to potential Chinese investors. This marketing pitch was reportedly made during the China International Fair for Investment and Trade in Xiamen held from September 8 to 11. The good brother however, failed to include the year. Meaning the activity could have been last year or may be this year. If it is the latter period then it was only last week.

We have some little reservations on the information shared by Brother Karl. We are aware that there still exists international travel restrictions. So, if there were people representing Davao City during that trade fair in Xiamen, they surely have the blessing of the local government, or that they must be packing a lot of influence to give them easy way out of the country and ingress in China in this time of the CoViD 19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, the question that must be answered by the city government is, “Is the 2018 Datu Bago Awardee’s information true?”

If it is, who from the city were sent to Xiamen and what exactly was their specific mission? Is it to offer Magsaysay Park for development into a global quality theme park and operate this once completed? If so, will the park become a business of the investors for a specified period of time?

We are constrained to raise these questions because we look up at Brother Karl as one person who cannot tell a lie. So his source or sources could be the so-called “ex-cathedra” or unimpeachable. What bothers us however, is that even a leading member of the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Davao City is claiming to be clueless of this development.

Yes, our good friend Pilar Braga in a group chat among her fellow trustees of the Davao Historical Society, Inc., said that the seaside park is a property of the city and whatever is to be done on it has to be authorized by the local legislative body. And as she said, while there is an existing development plan for Magsaysay Park it does not include having it open for foreign investors to undertake and operate.

But again, offering a patrimony of the city for “sale” or development by foreigners, not necessarily Chinese, is too sensitive an issue that making the initiative surreptitious makes its motives even more suspicious. So, if the good Brother has decided to “buy” the information then his source really could be one or two, or three persons whose integrity to him is beyond reproach.

Hence, if all these speculations are to be terminated then City Hall, more specifically the office charged with the LGU’s trade and investment promotion, must immediately come out with a clarification on the matter.

And let the clarification come soonest not later. If not, then people can’t be faulted if they take it as gospel truth.

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