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ROUGH CUTS | A changed scenario

 

 

 

Vic N. Sumalinog

IT LOOKS like Mindanao and the Visayas are now stealing the limelight from Luzon, more specifically the NCR Bubble + Regions, as far as the CoViD 19 pandemic is concerned in the Philippines.

Yes, this can be borne out of the recent surge in the number of new cases in the major provinces and cities in the two areas of the country. In the Davao Region and in the Northern Mindanao region as well as in the Zamboanga areas,  all the public hospitals as well as other CoViD cases referral private medical institutions, the bed capacities are either full or near the brim. And this has caused a major alarm in the hierarchy of the country’s health authorities, from the LGUs, regions up to the national level. Rightly so, because it is not just the bed capacity but in terms of equipment, other apparatus and in medical manpower the availability is now getting short. 

For example in Davao City alone, the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) management is now openly admitting that its ICU beds are already full and there are still patients lining at the admission area. The stock of oxygen may not last long if the present trend in the new surge is not arrested on time. And one of the city’s major private hospitals catering to CoViD patients is also expressing its apprehension that it may not anymore be able to accommodate new serious cases since its ICU capacity is also getting critical. 

Hence, to us, our major hope that the hike in new infections could be capped is only the people’s discipline and religious compliance of all health protocols. Also, those tasked to have the protocols complied must also be strict, yet humane, in their responsibility of having the mandates enforced without fear or favor. Come to think of this: Personnel in some still functional quarantine checkpoints in the city usually flag down only motorcycles and public utility jeeps to check on passengers’ distances, whether they are wearing mask or face shield. But as we have observed, those private vehicles are only asked to slow down and then proceed. A privilege enjoyed by the lucky few? 

Meanwhile, the order to open some windows of certain types of air-conditioned public utility vehicles is one amusing mandate to some drivers and even passengers. Tell it to the marines. How can such mandate be followed to the letter on public utility buses the design of which does not have windows that can be opened? Yes, in some types of buses the passengers can take a look outside at either side of the bus but the transparent glass wall cannot be open for the air to pass through.

We need not mention where these buses are having their routes in Davao City.  They are very visible going south or south west of the city.

On the other hand, being strict at the intra-LGU borders may not anymore be the strongest deterrent to the influx of the deadly virus to the city. Why, because we believe that the virus is actually right here in the city and its peripheries. It may just be hibernating in the bodies of its carrier waiting to transfer to its vulnerable victim.

So, it is our take that at this time when Davao City is reeling from the surge in new CoViD cases our defense system against the virus should be equally focused on outsiders coming in but also for all those long inside and within the city.

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Last Saturday, June 12, we celebrated the country’s 123rd Independence Day. We were somewhat amused at some scenes in areas where the country’s so-called militants have their usual demonstration and other protest activities. 

During the past many Independence Day celebrations the most visible inscriptions on protesters’’ placards and banners are those condemning the sitting administration, its ills and omission – both real and imagined – and the ones chastising the United States for its continuing interference in the affairs of our independent republic. 

But these days, things change. The anti-US slogans were disappearing. In almost all television channels doing live coverage of the 123d Independence Day celebration, hardly a single placard or banner had written condemnation of the US. Instead quite visible were inscriptions and caricatures on placards and banners castigating the President for his strategy in dealing with China on the issue of the West Philippine Sea and on his supposed ineptitude in handling the CoViD pandemic, “laziness” and corruption under his administration.  And, ironically, the same militant groups who used to keep their silence on allegations they get support from China, were ganging up on the latter and demanding that the country get out of the Philippine territory and calling for a boycott of Chinese products. Funny, isn’t it? Well, “Let us to see”, according to the late senator Landring Almendras, where this anti-China sentiment will lead them to.

 

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