FOR THE past three months we were intrigued at the unexplained absence of Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Ano in Cabinet meetings, IATF assemblies and briefings and in all government activities regarding the efforts to respond to the CoViD 19 pandemic.
We could not help but think that the good DILG Secretary could have gotten the ire of the President that he was forced on the sidelines.
The DILG instead was given face or representation in government activities either by Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya of OIC Undersecretary Florece when Ano was a “no show.”
Last Friday however, we were finally enlightened as to the absence of Ano. It was mentioned during the daily press briefing by Malacanang on the country’s CoViD 19 situation by the IATF and Presidential spokesman Harry Roque where he disclosed that Secretary Ano starting on that day, was already reporting for work after a 3-month medical leave. It was also revealed by Roque that the DILG chief underwent a heart operation that requires a longer period of rest.
Apparently, Ano is now fully recovered and he could not have been allowed by his doctors to report for work if his condition will not allow it.
The announcement gave us a sigh of relief and probably may have stopped speculations by some sectors about the Ano “disappearance”. And now that he is back in harness it is likely that there might be some innovations that will be adopted if only to assuage the fear by some people that certain local government officials are not towing the line of the national government in relation to the response to the pandemic.
Last Friday also we heard with some disgust the apparent mockery made by lady Senator Riza Hontiveros about the government’s failure to institute a successful anti-pandemic response. At the certain instances of her mocking, she mentioned that the government is either not doing anything or that what it is doing is far from enough.
Hontiveros appeared to exude the aura of an all-knowing official who has all the effective policy to make the response against the pandemic work. But it was apparent that in all her braggadocio she has not at any instance offered a definitive alternative solution to the ones being adopted by the government.
All that she mentioned as the ones that needed to be done by the government are already currently being done such as aggressive contact tracing, augmentation of isolation facilities, and even of beds for CoViD 19 patients.
The senator is acting like she is not aware of other countries in the world – in fact, larger and more economically well-off countries – are also suffering from the surge of CoViD cases like Great Britain, France, Germany and Brazil.
In fact, it would seem that she is not aware of the lack of supplies of the vaccines being manufactured by the world’s pharmaceutical companies that are all owned or operated by people or governments that are themselves suffering from the impact of the deadly virus. Naturally, these countries are the vaccine makers’ first priorities for their products.
We do not know if she is pretending to be unaware about the actual situation or just feigning ignorance so she can say something against the administration to boost her personal political agenda. Hontiveros’ first term as a senator is expiring next year and to hit the administration by anyone aspiring for reelection or elective position in the national government is the most convenient way to keep one’s name afloat in the consciousness of the people.
We would not be surprised if the lady lawmaker would be one of the aspirants for the position of Vice President or perhaps President in the list of names from where selection of 1Bayan coalition candidates will be made.
Of course, that would test whether Hontiveros has been believed by most Filipinos. If she is selected by the OneBayan, the convenors of the group certainly believe in her. After all, they are only a few and harbor the same disgust against the present Malacanang tenant. But it would be a totally different story to convince the Filipino people to believe in her. And if she gets the people’s support and the administration is back to her affiliated ticket then that would be her most opportune time to show that she has what it takes to solve the health crisis. That is if the pandemic will not just leave the world by itself.
Or, why cannot these all-knowing politicians especially lawmakers like Hontiveros come up with a law that would force people to change their behavior like mandating everyone exposed to a CoViD-positive person to submit themselves to isolation or swab test and punish those who will hide or deny their having such contact.
This of course may violate the enjoyment of individual rights enshrined in our constitution. But the lawmakers know we are in an extremely emergency situation and we need to deter the loss of lives and the infirmities of people. And we need to also stop the bleeding of our economy for the country to survive.
Last Friday, the Regional Office of the Department of Health in the Davao Region sent off an initial five health workers to the National Capital Region to help the medical workers in the San Lazaro Hospital attend to the overflowing number of CoViD 19 patients. They will be working in that medical institution for one month hoping that their presence would somehow ease the burden of the present health workers in that hospital.
We assumed that the five sent last Friday is only the first batch. That is, that there will be more volunteers from the region who are brave enough to risk their lives and profession if only to help the capital region health workers minister to the CoViD 19 infirmed.
We would like to extend our congratulations to the brave nurses and doctors who did not mind their own safety just to be of help. We are also advancing our felicitation to those who are planning to volunteer and hope that it will not take long for them to decide. We are running against time.
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