LAST Friday the vaccine task force of Davao City announced that the vaccination hub in Crossing Bayabas school in Toril District will be open soon.
It is intended to jumpstart the inoculation of people who are elderly and are considered under the high-risk category of getting infected by the Corona Virus.
That is good news to the people within the vicinity of Toril. However, it may not still be totally welcome news to the whole of the third district of Davao City.
As we all know, the third district is a large political and administrative subdivision of the City of Davao. Therefore, for people in one area to go to another area of the district, a good deal of travel time is needed.
What would it mean? Of course, additional man-hours have to be spent and more expenses are to be incurred. Given the prevailing situation where people are mostly deprived of their livelihood at this time of the pandemic, finding the money to spend for travel and meals is going to the Bayabas vaccine hub and back home is the more critical issue.
That is the reason why many are asking whether there will be additional vaccine hubs to be established in the third district as well as in the first and second districts of the city.
We believe that it is to the benefit of the people of the city to know if there are new hubs to be set up so this early they will have an idea where they could possibly have themselves vaccinated. And to us informing the population is important considering that there are already huge volumes of vaccines arriving in the country and soon the city will be receiving its share from the Department of Health.
Considering that the majority of the people of Davao City are in the rural areas and these are found in the upland barangays of the second and third districts, we see it as imperative that this time the city government and health leaders must have some degree of transparency on whatever plans they have in connection with the mass vaccination, especially on the locations of the hubs.
Of course, knowing personally the head of the vaccination task force in Dr. Josephine Villafuerte and Acting City Health Officer Dr. Ashley Lopez, we know that their primary concern is that no one Davaoeno will be left out in the effort to prevent massive virus transmission.
So, we are dead sure they will be making the announcement as to where and when the other vaccination centers will be put up and declared operational. Are we right doctors?
That is the good thing about having younger officials in the Island Garden City of Samal (IGaCoS) these days. They are quite innovative and responsive to the needs of the time. They seem to be always thinking out-of-the-box when it comes to keeping their city economically afloat even when its major income generator – the tourism industry – is badly affected by the global pandemic.
They know that like all other local government units their Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) for the year is negatively affected. Thus it may not suffice to add to the city’s fiscal requirements for the year.
Hence, the quick-thinking youthful officials of Samal led by no less than Mayor Al David Uy quickly thought of sourcing the needed funds from where these can be easily extracted – the tourists, thousands of them, who are now dying to visit Samal especially at these dry months of the year.
According to television reports we have monitored last Friday, the city is collecting a P30 per tourist arrival as Environmental Users’ Fee (EUF). And this will be collected only from non-residents of the city who will come and avail of the many tourist facilities on the island. Residents of Samal who will get inside resorts will not be charged the EUF which is a good idea.
Initially, according to reports, there are some vehement resentments from some tourism facilities and operators because they might have thought this scheme will discourage tourists to visit the city. Of course, we do not agree with this mood of reasoning by those who are against the measure of the LGU.
They are tourists and when they decide to come to the place their intention is to enjoy and to possibly while away their boredom from the more than one year of being restricted in their movements.
Therefore, in all likelihood, they have the money to spend for their travel and related activities on the island. So, if they can afford to wangle cash to buy happiness for a day or two, what is P30.oo as an additional expense to help the city maintain the attractiveness of their destination as most probably they will visit again some other times sooner or later?
The amount is nothing compared to what most tourists are willing to spend for beverages and wines or liquor just to add up to their enjoyment while inside resorts in beautiful Samal.
And here is another move by the local government of Davao City which may have added to the suspicion of some well-meaning residents about the real CoViD situation in this part of the Davao Region.
Of late the mayor has issued another Executive Order (EO) mandating that some portions of the doors of air-conditioned public utility vehicles be opened on both sides to allow easy passage of air that may be carrying the coronavirus from one or some of the passengers.
We have to agree that this is a good measure to prevent a possible surge in the number of cases in the city. But this is also fanning the suspicion that something is deliberately hidden from the public’s consciousness.
Why, because at the time that the city was suffering from the ignominious topnotch honor as the number one in the Top 5 list of infection contributors in the country, nobody seems to have thought of the idea. And this scheme is even coupled with the adoption of the semi-closed border measure started only very recently.
But of course, these observers are hoping that they are wrong with their suspicion. We too hope as well.
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