"The times demand of us our cooperation, compassion, and integrity."
If this would bring any comfort, we are nearing the end of 2020. We have faced tremendous challenges, one after the other. As many parts of the country continue to recover from the past typhoons, we seem to be forgetting the fact that we are still in a pandemic. The Department of Health now reports at least a thousand cases a day, compared to last month’s more than 2,000 cases. While the trend seems to be going down, the seriousness of the risks of COVID-19 transmission remains the same.
International pharmaceutical companies have recently successively and successfully reported the respective efficacy rates of their vaccines against COVID-19. Perhaps this would be the best Christmas gift we could wish this December. However, we can only be hopeful, as these clinical trials have yet to be confirmed and concluded.
With the fact that we are seeing a bit of light at the end of this long and dark tunnel, we need to be reminded that this does not mean we can let our guard down. This goes out to both public and private entities which have eased protocols and restrictions, forgetting that a pandemic is ongoing. Our utmost priority should still be to control the transmission of the disease and strengthen the capacity of our hospitals and health care units in attending to the needs of COVID-19 patients. Moreover, we seem to be setting aside the woes of health care professionals, especially their well-deserved hazard pay.
At this juncture, I urge the government to recalibrate its priorities and revert its focus to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our hospitals remain congested with patients seeking treatment. More so, health care professionals in both hospital and community settings are still strained to face serious risks every day and prevent disease transmission within their workplaces, plus the long hours of work which continue to be uncompensated well.
The government needs to ensure that there remains funds for COVID-19, especially that vaccines are slowly getting the nod of health professionals abroad. In any case, we need those vaccines to mitigate and curb transmission of this virus. Many of us are already on the edge, given the dragging months of quarantine. We owe the Filipino people protection as we overcome and prevail over this pandemic, and bounce back as to how we were before.
This pandemic surfaced many issues and problems that have not been sufficiently addressed. Corruption is one of them. Given that the administration has enforced a stricter campaign against corruption, I hope that this doesn’t end in making mere reports on the existence of corruption. For many years, corruption has been rampant in the country. It is a given fact. Past administrations have likewise vowed to put an end to this seemingly eternal bane of governance. With a President having a firm stand against corruption, it is high time that the government followed and abided by the President’s strong initiative to combat corruption. Perhaps it would be best to name those officials and make them accountable to the people.
These are truly extraordinary times. Filipinos have been overwhelmed for far too long. We need to be firm and determined with our actions to effectively combat both COVID-19 and corruption in the government. We cannot afford to idly stand by as other countries succeed in bringing COVID-19 cases down to zero. We cannot afford, at this point, to let the country suffer by allowing corrupt officials continue their perverted ways for unjust and illegal gains. The times demand from us our cooperation, compassion, and integrity so we can all survive this difficult period.