Is it true, as President Marcos Jr. stated, that “we have hurdled the COVID-19 pandemic?
Yes, it is true—in a sense that there are no more lockdowns, no more strict quarantine of incoming travelers from abroad, no more strict observance of health protocols and no more strict observance of the social distancing protocol.
But, the COVID-19 sickness is still very much with us, with afflicted persons still being hospitalized and with some still dying, especially the elderly and the immunocompromised and those with comorbidities.
Yes, COVID-19 pandemic is still with us, Santa Banana, just like tuberculosis, cholera, HIV and the flu.
I guess that in some way or another COVID-19 has become part of our daily lives, and all we can do is to be wary of it, and to make sure, my gulay, that we don’t get contaminated by it.
As health experts put it, there will never be an end to the dreaded invisible health enemy or threat of the virus.
The experts, however, make a distinction, Santa Banana, about what is meant by ending the pandemic as a health threat and living with the virus as the pandemic ending “medically” and the pandemic ending “socially.”
What they mean by the pandemic ending “socially” is when people go about their lives under what is called the “new normal.”
And it’s what BBM meant when he said “we have hurdled the COVID-19 pandemic,” with the Filipinos living under the “new normal,” partying, enjoying family and social reunions, traveling to resorts and cities abroad, going to restaurants, shopping malls and to the movies, but still with masks for the elderly and those with comorbidities.
The return to the new normal is often called “revenge spending” which BBM meant when he stated Filipinos have hurdled the pandemic.
That we have hurdled the COVID-19 pandemic is certainly good news.
Thank heaven for that, since three years under strict health protocols was debilitating in many ways.
My wife and I, being elderly, thank GOD for that good news, while many of our friends and relatives did not survive.
Being elderly, my wife at 91, and myself at 96, we cannot risk our lives with an enemy we cannot see. We still wear masks and observe the health protocols.
Another piece of good news following the unabated bad one is that the total number of vaccination doses as of March 15 has risen to 179,044,847 with the first doses given amounting to 79,165,853 in all.
The complete booster doses is 24,176,344. About 77 percent of the country’s eligible people, according to records, are deemed as fully vaccinated, out of the estimated 110 million total population of the country.
Based on records BBM believes we, Filipinos, have hurdled the COVID-19 pandemic.
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The killing of Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo has gone global.
Santa Banana, indeed it has, with the Philippine National Police seeking the assistance of the Lyon, France-based Interpol to trace the whereabouts of accused Negros Oriental Rep. Arnolfo Teves Jr. after he was declared AWOL or absent without leave from the House of Representatives after Speaker Martin Romualdez denied his petition from the United States to be given a two-month leave of absence.
In effect, Santa Banana, Teves is now in flight, the best proof of guilt.
It has been said that Teves may run, but he cannot hide with the Interpol now on alert on his whereabouts.
With the Philippines having an extradition treaty with the United States, Teves could be extradited.
However, if Teves flees to a country like Canada, which has no extradition treaty with the Philippines or to any other country without an extradition treaty with the Philippines, his whereabouts could be easily traced by the Interpol.
That’s why I say, the Degamo killing has gone global.
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I would like to take this opportunity to introduce a G.I. (Genuine Ilocano) like me, Honor Blanco Cabie, the Manila Standard Opinion Editor.
He is a Pedro Bucaneg awardee for writing the fully-researched and truly Ilocano book “Pinili, Metamorphoses into Motion” (Chosen, about a small town in Ilocandia and how it all began).
I have read it, and I must admit the Manila Standard Opinion Editor is truly a writer and deserving of the award.
When I say, he is a writer, which I am not , I am only a lawyer-journalist, it’s because HBC is a true and genuine writer, which I repeat I am not, although I may have written my memoirs (“The Road Never Ends”) of my over seven decades as a journalist, having walked the corridors of power and seen history in the making.
HBC, an award winning journalist and litterateur, holds a master’s degree in journalism and another in media management from the Asian Institute of Journalism and Communication where he is President of the Alumni Association.
He was also an Editorial Consultant of the PAENCOR Publications in Metro Manila, an associate professor and professional lecturer, and teaches journalism, mass communication, advertising, public relations, Asian civilization and literature on the side.
In 2011, GUMIL Filipinas, the national association of Ilocano writers in the Philippines and abroad, conferred on him its highest gift for male writers, the Pedro Bucaneg Award, three years after he won in San Fernando City, La Union the Saribitniw (fiction-public speech-poetry) Championship, 21 years after he received the Tawid Special recognition Award in Journalism, also in La Union.
He won 1st Prize in the 16th World Congress of Poets in 2000.
A speech writer for senior government officials and leaders in the private sector, HBC is a prize-winning orator, debater, musician and singer.
He was Coach of the San Beda College of Arts and Sciences Debating Team and the FEU Oratorical and Debate Club and was named Outstanding Alumnus by San Beda and AIJC in 1992 and 2000 respectively.
He is married to the former Maria Rosa A. Atencio of Tarlac and Ilocos Norte . They have three children.