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ROUGH CUTS | We are in this situation together

Vic N. Sumalinog

WE should have written this first column item of ours in last Tuesday’s treatise. But we somehow forget because of what we thought earlier as a much important issue we need to bring out to the public’s consciousness – the Executive Order No. 62 of Mayor Inday Sara Duterte-Carpio. The EO provides for guidelines in the resumption of the use of the Food and Medicine Pass for Davaoenos to get out of their residences, as well as the requirements to support one’s travel within, going inside Davao City and outside.
Yes, we owe our readers an explanation why we were unable to have our columns for two weeks until last Monday.
Sorry indeed for not being able to share with you dear readers our thoughts on various issues of governance and society during the first two weeks of this month. We were actually advised by the management of this newspaper that the publication of the printed copy of the city’s oldest daily is suspended temporarily. However, because of our virtual “isolation” in our rural residence some thirty one kilometers away from the newspaper’s office we failed to read a succeeding advisory that tells us the on-line version of this paper continues to come out from Monday to Saturday. The reason is that until now we still do not have the communications signals that will allow us to be connected with those in the urban centers. In other words, it was too late when we discovered that there was a succeeding message advising us of the continuation of the on-line edition of this paper meanwhile that the printed version is suspended. We were only able to read the advice when we had the opportunity to sneak out to the city proper to visit our house at Catalunan Grande where we have internet connection, mobile phone signals and of course the e-mail facility.
But that is “muddled water until a troubled bridge.” In other words, a failure in communication in an era of modern technology even at the palm of individuals. Mea culpa.
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With the issuance of EO No. 62 by Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio almost all Davaoenos are asking this question: “Is Davao City okay with regards to its present situation on the Corona Virus Disease (CoViD) pandemic?”
One of those who asked the question is our good friend Wennie Gorres himself. And he also provided his own answer. “No, Davao City is not okay.” He shares this thought of his in a somewhat long but definitely informative message he sent his friends through Messenger
Wennie argues that his definitive answer to his own question that the city is not okay as far as the prevalence of the highly infectious CoViD 19 is concerned, is the series of EOs issued by the city mayor all intended to deter the spread of the disease.
Wennie also disclosed his observation that cases of CoViD 19 infection are already happening in several government offices including the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and even the very government hospital that is the leading “go-to” facility for CoViD patients, the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC).
Our friend also believes that one support to his claim that the city is not okay is the opening of private hospitals to CoViD patients. Also, says our friend, quarantine facilities are now converted into double beds – one clear anticipation of the possibility of a spike in the number of infected persons.
Actually, Wennie’s observations happen to be closely similar to those of ours. We are certain the Davao City CoViD situation is far from okay. We also believe that the earlier anti-CoViD 19 measures taken by the local government authorities guided by the policies adopted by the National Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) were effective and clearly winning strategies in the battle against the unseen enemy.
Unfortunately, when there were indications that the strategies had given the city some grounds won, somehow our officials thought we were already winning the war.
Yes, the earlier winning strategies of the city eventually gave us the down-graded quarantine level. From the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) down to the much relaxed category, the Modified Community Quarantine (MGCQ).
From where we are personally perched, we saw vividly that the earlier winning strategies were later deprived of its teeth. After being granted the MGCQ category many of the checkpoints that were strictly implementing the health protocols under the pandemic regime were dismantled. The front line personnel assigned at checkpoints were pulled out and if there were those left manning the checkpoints they simply sat almost immobile with near empty eyes allowing vehicles to pass by. There is no one checking body temperature as was the norm under the previous measures.
Now, it’s like the city is in possession of a tested winning battle plan. But somehow, some “table expert” advisers may have convinced those in the “war room” that the situation already allows for the withdrawal of the “foot soldiers.” So the CoViD war planners decided to relax the city’s guard. And Boom! In the last two weeks Davao becomes a regular fixture in the CoViD 19 new cases top 5 places nationwide.
So, there was scrambling among the city’s CoViD war planners to bring down the city’s “performance” out of the Top 5 list. And based on the mayor’s EO 62, effective Tuesday, November 17, 2020, Davao City becomes a “restricted city” and reverts to the earlier adopted strategies in arresting the rise in CoViD cases.
We, however, believe that it is imperative for the city leadership to re-enforce the re-implementation of the earlier adopted measures with the tools, manpower and other support to make it sustainable for an indefinite period of time.
And the mode of imposing the various health protocols has to be strict but should not be devoid of respect to the rights of individuals.
Those charged with the delicate job of manning checkpoints and other facilities must not even think of arrogance in the performance of their duties.
In the same vein, Davaoenos must also show utmost respect to the front liners since what they are doing is not for themselves alone but for the people of the entire city of Davao.
Yes, in this dangerous pandemic we are all in the same boat. If anyone makes any move to rock it the boat could sink and we all could drown. But if we cooperate, we’d surely survive the dangerous journey.

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