Solidarity in the time of COVID-19 -- MS Supplement

Just bare all

"No ordinary mortal can understand the figures on the DOH website."


A couple of days ago, the Department of Health revised its presentation of latest Covid-19 cases. This was after netizens questioned the decision of the government to downgrade most parts of the country from Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine to General Community Quarantine, as the number of cases that day spiked to 539 from the previous day’s 380, which was again higher than the daily average for the past three weeks of around 250 cases per day.

To prevent confusion, the DOH presented the number of cases under two categories “fresh cases,” referring to results of tests conducted within the last three days, and “late cases” referring to test results from four days and above.

Last Friday, the DOH released its highest recorded cases for the day at 1,046, but clarified the 1,000 cases were delayed reporting and that only 46 cases were fresh.

This particular DOH report gives us a glimmer of hope as it portends the subsiding of COVID-19 infection in the country. This was the lowest number of cases reported in the last three months.

Even Deputy Majority Leader and Pampanga Rep. Juan Miguel Arroyo says while the number of cases, at first glance could cause alarm, the bigger picture may not be as bad as it looks.

“As alarming as it may seem, I just focus on the number of the ‘new cases’ aside from those counted as backlog, and the number of deaths compared to the big number of Covid-19 cases to get the percentage,” says Arroyo.

“The other day, out of the 539 cases, only around 100 were new cases. So, it’s not bad as it looks,” he adds.

However, the new format of DOH’s presentation only validates our long-held suspicion it is under reporting the number of cases. And these might be due to the delay in the agency’s validation of cases.

According to the DOH Tracker, there are 23,079 cumulative positive individuals as of May 29, 2020.

Thus Arroyo asks: “Are these the people who tested positive for COVID-19, but they have only validated 16,634 cases?”

“DOH needs to clarify these numbers. If this is the case, then they have 6,445 pending cases to validate,” Arroyo stressed.

“They have to start clarifying this to the people so we will no longer be alarmed when they release figures of old cases,” Arroyo insists.

And we agree with the Pampanga lawmaker. The DOH is posting tons of figures on its website that no ordinary mortal can understand.

If the DOH cannot expedite is processing of the backlog of cases, maybe it would best for them to reformat again its presentation of its report to include the number of backlog cases needing validation. In that case, people, especially our leaders would have a more appreciation of the extent of the COVID-19 infection in our country.

And please come up with a unified report with the local government units. We still cannot comprehend why the LGUs are presenting lower number of cases in their areas compared to the “official” data being released by the DOH. Which are we to believe?

Just bare everything.


One of the hardest hits in this Covid-19 pandemic is the restaurant industry.

Last week, I was chatting with a childhood friend, Joan Tigno, comparing notes on where is the best to order online for food. She then suggested Pamana Restaurant, where her family and mine used to dine.

I was surprised as I didn’t know Pamana was already available for online order. She said they had to as Happy Ongpauco-Tiu, her friend and owner of the restaurant, had employees’ salaries to pay for. Joan sent me a video showing Happy talking about the effects of COVID-19 on their business.

According to Happy, when the government placed the entire Luzon Island under community quarantine, she was forced to close all her five restaurants – Pamana, Barrio Fiesta, Tsokolateria, World Topps and Hawaiian BBQ – all of which employs a total of 260 personnel.

All of a sudden, those people were without work. So, Happy had to support them during the quarantine period, supplying them with goods every two weeks.

But as the cost of providing food and other essentials to 260 employees and their families is already taking its toll on the company’s finances, Happy had to join the online food delivery bandwagon.

But even that is a hard decision on her part as it opens the possibility of someone in her staff could get infected by the dreaded virus.

Happy is not the only one who had to make drastic adjustment in the midst of this crisis. Movie director Lore Reyes, in the absence of an immediate opportunity for him to do something where he is at his best, film-making, had opened up his own online food delivery – Hawker King.

And both seem to be doing well. But under the new normal, it would not be enough as revenues from their online food delivery can’t still meet the monthly requirement for their staff’s salaries.

According to Happy, government assistance in the form of low interest loans would be most welcome, so that most of them who were affected can rebuild their businesses.

“We need to support and pray for each other,” says Happy.

“For I believe, we can all stand us one!”


When I wrote in my column about two weeks ago something about coffee, my lawyer friend, Faye Isaguirre-Singson sent me a message saying I should have included her as, just like me, coffee literally runs in her blood.

I believe her as whenever we meet at another friend’s house, the first thing we will ask for, is a cup of coffee.

Anyway, Atty. Faye says she now brings her own brew wherever she goes – Slender Sips.

Slender Sips is actually a coffee drink mix, which Atty. Faye claims that aside from it satisfying taste, gives her a more healthy caffeine option as it helps her keep her weight down.

Maybe I’ll give it a try. The next meet with her. I’m pretty sure her bag so always stacked with sachets of Slender Sips.

Topics: Charlie Manalo , Department of Health , DOH , Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine , MECQ , General Community Quarantine , GCQ , coronavirus disease 2019 , COVID-19
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