LAST week a friend on Facebook kept on telling us that he is suspicious that the local government and health authorities in Davao City were telling the public some half-truths only about the real situation on CoViD cases. He based his assessment on the apparent incongruous statements issued to the media by both local and health executives up to the last weekend.
According to our friend, he could not find any sense for the local executives to issue several stricter protocols such as the one that puts the regional borders of the Davao Region with other neighboring regions under a semi-closed status.
At the same time our friend said, he had observed that the health authorities in the city have not been providing the public an update on the number of new infections on a daily basis. It was far different from the last few months of 2020 when everyday people, not just in Davao City but in the entire region and even in the whole country, are updated on the figure of daily infections in our locality.
We actually share the same observation by our Facebook friend. However, we believe that the reason the authorities may have decided to “hide” the actual situation is that they do not want to cause unnecessary panic to the population.
But like our friend we cannot help the city residents to suspect because the series of issuance of very much stricter protocols to avoid mass infection could only mean one thing. That is, that Davao City is still unable to effectively control the pandemic at its level despite the roll-out of the government’s vaccination program.
In last Wednesday’s pronouncement of Davao City mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio it was clear that she was candid enough to tell the people that there is an increasing number of new CoViD cases in the city. There goes the confirmation of our friend’s suspicion and that of ours.
For whatever good reasons the authorities have in keeping for some time the people of the city in the dark as to the real CoViD situation, we believe that as far as they are concerned they were doing the right thing. But we still argue that being transparent about it is the better option to take.
We’d like to congratulate Councilor Danilo Dayanghirang for his sponsorship of the ordinance that seeks to legalize the operation of the so-called “Habal-habal” or single motorcycle as provider of taxi services in the rural areas in the city.
Yes, with the operation of “habal-habals” as passenger carriers, we find it extremely important that these public utility vehicles be regulated. There had to be provisions for annual registration of not just the unit but also some kind of franchise to operate as a common carrier.
Moreover, we believe that both passengers and drivers are covered with insurance policies that will assure them of protection in cases of emergency while travelling.
For now we have no idea of the complete picture of the Dayanghirang-sponsored ordinance. We do not know whether this also mandates insurance coverage of the motorbike unit. All these may be additional overhead for the owner or operator of the “habal-habal” but in the end it is to the benefit of the operator since it obviates a much bigger expense in having the unit repaired or changed should the situation demand it.
Above all, by regulating the operation of motorbike taxis the government would earn something from such business. It’s worth mentioning that today “habal-habals” or motorcycle taxis are already a dime a dozen especially in the rural areas of the city that are not normally included in regular routes of public utility jeeps.
Almost every household in the rural barangays own one or two unit of motorbikes and at least one of these units is used to ferry passengers to and from the centers of businesses like Calinan or Toril proper in the third district.
It is also the surge in the number of people wanting to own motorcycles in the far-flung areas that is now making the motorbike dealership in Davao City a booming business. It is about time the city also benefits from its operation, not just the “go-to” entity for financial assistance through the Lingap center when motorbike riders and passengers meet with accidents.
A lot of questions are being raised, especially by critics of the present administration, on why the Philippines pale in comparison with Vietnam, Malaysia, Japan, Taiwan, New Zealand, and Australia in the level of its accomplishment in its battle against the deadly CoViD 19 pandemic.
Then we read it somewhere in the social media that the reason is our lack of discipline and too much adherence to our constitutionally-guaranteed human rights.
That is, while the people of the other countries earlier mentioned follow government mandates without any hesitation both as compliance to lawful orders and as a sense of responsibility, we Filipinos question the motives of all issued protocols every inch of the way to the extent of invoking the sacredness of our human rights.
This despite the fact that all the protocols issued by the government these days are all intended to protect the health and well-being of the Filipino people, be he the ordinary man on the street or the privileged few in the country’s posh subdivisions and exclusive residential enclaves.
So, the answer to such a question is as simple as that.
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