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ROUGH CUTS |    They died not of CoViD but of…

Vic N. Sumalinog

SHORTLY before we took our usual morning coffee yesterday we also got our cellular phone to check whether we have unread messages during the preceding night. We did not but what we got was an early message from 1st District congressional aspirant Mags Maglana through Facebook thanking us for our “introduction” of her to the electorate.

     For us we need not be thanked for a thing that is supposed to be a responsibility of a well-meaning media people. That is, to help the electorate as fairly as possible, choose who he or she thinks is the right person to be his/her representative in the country’s lawmaking body. And since Mags has decided to offer herself as alternative to the incumbent we believe that we are obligated to inform the people who she is and what makes her think she is qualified to be one.

     May be what we have shared to the voters about the feisty lady are not enough. Thus, perhaps as the official campaign period sets in Mags Maglana will have all the time to meet as many people she can in the first congressional district and that would surely her best opportunity to tell them what they can expect from her if she gets the chance of representing them in Congress.

     And as we have encouraged the other first time aspirant and the incumbent himself in our column yesterday we are more than willing to set aside a space for them to make their pitch or make the people know who they are, what they have done and what they intend to do in the legislative body.


     Believe it or not!

     Of the many elderlies (or call them senior citizens) who died during the last two years of the pandemic in the country, in Davao City, hospital and Civil Registrar’s Office records show that majority of their deaths were not caused directly by CoViD 19 infection.

     Rather, they died because of complications that resulted from their religious compliance of the restrictions imposed to curb the deadly virus infection.

     Yes, most deaths, according to records, were caused by stress, deterioration of their immune system and the malfunctioning of their body structure because of lack of mobility and exercises. We take the cases of the seniors who made it their routine to walk to and swim in the waters of the beaches nearest their houses in Davao City before the pandemic started in March of 2020. We are referring to the elderlies residing somewhere in the Lanang-Sasa-Panacan-Tibungco quadrangular area.  The seniors who mostly belong to the so-called economically “disadvantaged” families, could hardly afford to go to the rather upscale beaches of the nearby Samal island which were also closed until late last year. 

     So their only option during the pre-pandemic years was the “poor man’s beach,” the COACO Beach in Sasa, and Lizada Beach in Lanang. Many of the elderlies in those parts of the city before 2020 had their early morning or late afternoon walk’s destination the said beaches where they took their swimming exercise to perk up their ageing muscles and veins. But with the onset of the pandemic, the beaches were ordered closed. So were the other still “bathable” beaches in the city like the iconic Times Beach and the pre-World War II-famous Talomo shoreline.    

     When these “poor man’s” beaches were shut down from the public for fear that allowing these to be converged by people would create super-spreaders of the virus, many senior citizens were somewhat “chained” in their beds or incarcerated in their own household.  Thus, when the stringent mobility restrictions were eased considerably during the end part of the third quarter and loosened furthermore during the last quarter of 2021, the “poor man’s” recreational destinations—the beaches like Coaco, Lizada, Times and the rest in Davao City and most prominently the Samal beach resorts — were opened to frolickers. This development was like a “prisoner’s release announcement” among the seniors whose muscles and veins are now getting hardened and badly in need of movement to loosen up.

     Now a new surge in CoVid cases is creeping again in Davao City and the likelihood is that the beaches we have mentioned here may be closed again or possibly have already been off again from people especially the senior ones. Then they’ll be back once more in the confines of the walls in their homes, and sooner will be bed-ridden anew then die.

     Worst they are not the only ones who are badly affected as a consequence of the closure. A lot of other people too, are suffering with the loss of their livelihood. We are referring to those who are operating beach table rental business, sari-sari stores, turo-turo eateries, tricycle drivers. All of them are dependent on these livelihood endeavors.  And they’ve been through serious hard times during the two year ban on beach operations to help curb the CoViD 19 pandemic. 

      The barangays too, where the beaches belong, also lost substantial sources of income like the entrance fees to the beaches and cash tickets issuances from the ambulant and micro businesses.

     No, we are not in any way advocating for outright opening of these beaches in violation of established health protocols by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Communicable Diseases (IATF). But we are certain there could be other ways to provide the elderlies or seniors in those areas of the city alternate areas where they could fight their boredom and at the same time exercising their rigid bodies. Our city and national health authorities and the city council working together may be able to find one. Say, designate certain roads to serve as “corridors” relatively free of the disease-causing virus. And the designation of these roads as corridors must be done through local legislation to ensure these will have some kind of exclusivity during certain hours of the day.


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