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ROUGH CUTS | May be there’s need for compromise




HERE is another proof of the apparent surge of infections by the Corona Virus in Davao City over the past few days.

The surge was somehow successfully concealed from the public’s consciousness with the aid of media by not reporting, or say, not working enough to get the true picture of the pandemic in the city and including it in their daily reportage.

Instead, the media content itself with just reporting the total accumulated cases since March 2020, the total remaining active cases, how many new recoveries as well as the accumulated total number of deaths.

The reports though since late last week is already different. In Davao City, the media was already reporting the total number of new infections on a daily basis even as it continues mentioning the totals in all aspects of the pandemic scenarios not just nationally but locally as well.

The reason given by the authorities in “concealing” as much as it can be done, the true picture of the CoViD 19 in the city is because they are afraid that mentioning the new daily infection figures could create a possible panic among the population. And this was affirmed by no less than mayor Inday Sara Duterte-Carpio in her issued reminder to the people of the city not to panic in the midst of the surge unless they can see her panicking herself.

Indeed it is a timely reminder by the mayor even as we seem to notice that in the city population’s manifested behavior these days, they are still far from being panicky. Imagine how many of them disobey health protocols by going to other places in the region, continuing to hold mass gatherings like cockfighting, birthday parties, sight-seeing trips and other forms of supposedly bonding activities. Wow! We’d like to envy them.

And here comes the mayor reminding her constituents not to panic unless she herself panics. But is she not really panicking? Consider these: Recently she issued an Executive Order mandating drivers of public utility vehicles that are air-conditioned to open some, or may be all and totally or a portion thereof, their vehicle’s windows.

This has to be so because probably, according to the well-intentioned(?) advisers of the lady chief executive, the scheme will allow passage of air from the inside of the vehicles to either side with an open window or windows.

Many discerning observers however, are of the opinion that the mayor’s advisers could still be living in the past. Why are they not aware that buses nowadays, including those utilized by the mayor in her RAPID transport program, have designs that are already bereft with windows except the permanent or fixed glass or synthetic plastic as viewing and shield attached directly on the vehicle’s wall? In other words, for these type of public utility vehicles the design has to be altered and the glass shields be detached to allow the wind to blow away whatever virus is floating inside.

On the other hand, passengers of taxi cabs normally, if they are more than one, are usually relatives or close friends who are likely working in the same office building or staying in the same house. And the reason they take the taxi cab is because they want to travel in comfort with the cab air condition on.

That is why they are willing to pay for the cost. And what the driver offers is an air conditioned service that the passengers are willing to pay when they decide to flag down a unit. To take away the convenience of the passengers but still make them pay for the prescribed fare is a clear act of short changing the passenger.

But of course, if we have to reckon with the novelty of the mayor’s order to obviate the transmission of the virus from one person to another, perhaps where it is not applicable like in the case of transport vehicles mentioned herein, there has to be alternate measures to be mandated.

Yes, the mayor instead orders that taxi cab passengers must wear both the face mask and face shield while inside. And she must also empower the drivers to make sure that her mandate is complied.

Meaning, the driver can reject any passenger who does not have any mask and face shield, or be made responsible in reporting the matter to the authorities. But the mayor has to remind the drivers that the manner with which to convince his or her passengers to comply would be up to him.

As to the closed air conditioned buses, all the drivers and dispatchers have to do is comply with the minimum number of passengers allowable in the instant situation. And again the passengers must wear a face mask and face shield at all times while on board the bus.

We are certain these schemes are more doable than having the vehicle driver open the windows or the operator alter the vehicle’s design so windows can be installed and be opened or closed as mandated.

It is on these aspects that the mayor and the other authorities who adopted the strategy, must sound out the drivers and operators of this kind of public transport and work out an acceptable compromise to all.
Yes, they have to find a scheme where the drivers and operators can still manage to survive even as the passengers still enjoy the little comfort they need after over a year of near isolation, and the government is assured the health safety of the majority is still attainable.

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