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ROUGH CUTS | The DOH is sounding an alarming bell




Vic N. Sumalinog

YESTERDAY morning, news reports disclosed that the Department of Health had monitored that the number of active COVID-19 cases in Mindanao as of Saturday, June 5, has already overtaken that of the Metro Manila area.

And this happened after the national health agency offices in most of Mindanao finally admitted the surge in new cases after its numbers have always been overshadowed by the numbers in Metro Manila.

But even if there was an apparent effort to conceal the real situation, possibly because of fear by the local government and health officials that it may cause panic to the people, the actions they took actually betrayed what they may have deliberately hidden.

Are not most of the local chief executives the ones who requested the national Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on the emerging infectious diseases to revert the quarantine level in most of the island to the more stricter Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) from the General Community Quarantine (GCQ) which they have been enjoying for some time?

Well, there is no doubt that the DOH announcement sounds alarming and confirmatory as to the level of compliance of Mindanaoans to the restrictions provided in the various health protocols under the present pandemic regime.

Yes, for the longest time while we are suffering from the effects of the health emergency, it has always been our take that in Davao City and in all other areas – whether it is in the whole of Mindanao or in the Visayas and Luzon – the one that is exacerbating the situation is the lack of respect of most residents to government-mandated protocols that are intended to stem the infection of the deadly coronavirus.

And perhaps we would like to add that even if there will surely be contrary position to our view, it is clear that contributory to the blatant disregard by some people of the various restrictions is the lack of sincerity, or shall we say, the failure of authorities to implement to the letter the mandates provided in the guidelines.

It is actually like implementing traffic rules and regulations in the city and elsewhere in the Philippines for the longest time already. On certain days and places the enforcers are there and strict to the core; on another day they are not.

They cannot even be found on the streets on certain days of the week or even month, and suddenly they surface like mushrooms, appearing strict but most of the time, giving some compromises.

In the case of local civilian, police and health authorities supposedly tasked to implement the health protocols in designated areas, there was a time when quarantine checkpoints were actually literal in its meaning.

No one motorist or rider on board is allowed to pass without going through the standard operating procedures that will reduce the chances of having a possibly infected person or persons with just even showing symptoms of the deadly COVID to cross even borders of barangays.

And that was very effective in stemming down the surge of the virus during the first six month of 2020 when the health emergency was first categorized as pandemic proportions already.

But it was too soon for people and local civilian and health authorities to throw caution out of the window. Complacency took over all in the name of balancing the economy and health although the actions of both seemed intended to resuscitate the teetering economy. Instead of having the situation becoming favorable to improve economic activities now Mindanao is experiencing a surging infection necessitating the return to the more strict MECQ.

We can only hope that whatever moves relative to the situation that the authorities take will be implemented according to the letter with which these are supposed to be carried out. And correspondingly the people will be obliged to comply with them not because these are legal orders but because the situation requires a sense of discipline for them not to be dragged down deeper to perdition.


In the 2016 national elections, the administration party was clearly beaten to the draw in utilizing the social media in reaching out to individual voters by the fledgling coalition party bannering the candidacy of then candidate Rodrigo R. Duterte.

And sure they have realized this weakness in their campaign strategy that these days, about eleven months towards the 2022 Presidential election, the now claiming to be a coalesced opposition, is already very much active in the social media doing everything to destroy personalities who could possibly be backed by the present Malacanang tenant.

Of course, while strongly building their own potential candidate, they are also in the thick of destroying everyone who could be running against their chosen frontrunner. So, even as they heap all kinds of destructive epitaphs to Duterte and his rumored endorsees, the opposition trolls are busy chastising Senator Grace Poe, Sen. Manny Pacquiao, and Manila mayor Isko Moreno, among others.

For now though, except for some posts showing the administration’s infrastructure accomplishments, the social media utilization by the Duterte Administration still pales in comparison with that of the present critics and opposition. But we are entertaining this idea that the apparent lack of social media activities for the party or simply by the people in power could be some kind of calmer waters before a political tsunami. And, that to us is worth watching. In Cebuano parlance, posibleng gitagaan lang ug bentaha!

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