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ROUGH CUTS | Travails under the regime of EOs

WELL, it seems Davao City’s health and local government authorities are facing difficulties in fighting the resurgence of the highly infectious Corona Virus Disease 2019 (CoViD 19).

This can be seen in the issuances of at least three Executive Orders (EO) by Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio in a period of two weeks only. EOs 55, 56 and 57 came almost one after the other. And these are all about reiterating with forcefulness the various health protocols that were issued by the government to deter the mass infection of the virus to the people of Davao City.

We do not know really know how much the downgrading of the city’s earlier Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) level to General Community Quarantine, and later to Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ) level has contributed to the sudden upsurge of CoViD 19 cases in the city. But what is clear is the jump of the city from nowhere in the list of leading places with a huge number of new cases to the number 1 position until three days ago. (Last Monday Negros Occidental topped Davao City as number 1).

Because of this recent move of the city mayor we believe that the local authorities are convinced it is the convergence of more people in their workplaces, in other public and private places including residences where restrictions on celebrations of family milestones are being relaxed under the MGCQ regime, could be the primary culprit of the upswing of new CoViD cases in the city.

We believe however, that if the city has gained this somewhat undesirable prominence of topping in the list of places with resurging CoViD infection, it could be largely due to the people themselves and the seeming laxity of the city’s enforcers of the health protocols.

It is already very observable these days that many quarantine checkpoints in both urban and rural barangays in the city are already non-functional. Some are even removed. In the city’s inland villages pick-up vehicles, open-back trucks fully loaded with people most likely agriculture and related activity workers have become common sights. Worst, many of the passengers are not only maintaining social distancing, are not also wearing face mask. And they have nothing to worry about since there are no more checkpoints for them to contend with.

In other words, it is apparent that no matter the existence of Executive Orders if there are no government authorities to religiously check whether the prohibitions thereat are complied, the city’s population are wont to become complacent.

Yes, we believe that the close to one year of the pandemic shutting out almost totally the economy of Davao City is already too long. Many of the city’s residents are deprived of their livelihood including even their very minimal opportunity to enjoy some of the perks of living. So it is our take that it is only worthy that the city allows itself to remain under its current MGCQ category, allow its residents to go back to their means of living without being haunted by the possibility of getting caught violating the curfew in going back home.

What we however, believe could be most effective strategy to arrest the rise in CoViD 19 cases in the city is the restoration of quarantine checkpoints, beefing up of front liners monitoring people movement in all areas of the city especially in places where the resurgence is reported, and prosecuting those caught violating the protocols.

From where we are perched, we see all the EOs minus its teeth, or if it has these are dull. The mandates however, can only succeed in prolonging the agony of those who hardly had any opportunity to earn a living in order to feed their family.

Why, because many of the establishments that they are working are either shortening to the maximum their operating time, retrenching employees, or totally closing down as a consequence of the restrictions of people movement.

For now we can compare the EOs to the crafting of some supposed winning battle plans in a battle field where the best and most effective fighting units are withdrawn.

And as we had pointed out earlier, there are corresponding mandates resulting out of the protocols that are bound to be violated wherever opportunity comes.

One example is the order that tricycles should only be allowed to ferry two passengers maximum. But the same order is also twinned by another strict mandate for the drivers not to increase the fares to be collected.

That is literally ordering the drivers to go to the roads on a losing venture every time they go out. So, who is the driver who can be expected to follow the order to the letter?

And here is another one. This catchphrase is on billboards, t-shirts and tarpaulins all over the city. It says: “Save money, Save lives, Stay home.” Many are wondering aloud. How can they save money when they have no way of earning it since they are ordered to stay home? Yes, they may be able to save lives by reducing possibility of infecting others if they are the ones with the virus, or being infected by others if they go out.

But for how long can they survive hunger if they have no money to buy food and no government assistance is coming?
We can only keep on imagining how.

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