"Why the attitude?"
Just as typhoon Ambo battered the Visayas and parts of Luzon, thousands of Metro Manila residents hit the streets and trooped to the shopping malls since the Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) took effect last Saturday.
The National Task Force Against COVID-19 has raised concern that the influx of people into the shopping malls actually poses potential person-to-person transmission of the dreaded virus.
The risk to everyone of contracting COVID-19 is still very high, and the Department of Health (DOH) has not run amiss about warning the public of a possible “second wave” of the epidemic in the country, particularly Metro Manila.
It’s as if people tend to forget that we, in the National Capital Region (NCR) are still subject to the rules of the ECQ, which is slightly eased to allow nearly one million residents to return to work in selected industries.
Since the MECQ took effect, people have gone to the streets, some not even wearing face masks and ignoring the rule on social or physical distancing.
Many others have gone to the shopping malls and the usual sight traffic congestion at EDSA is back although there is a limited availability of public utility vehicles (PUVs).
We must understand that the gradual transition from the stringent ECQ to MECQ, then GCQ, is meant to allow the efforts of the anti-COVID-19 frontliners to gain headway and achieve the flattening of the epidemiological curve and prevent the second wave.
Unfortunately, it’s seems that even the deadly threat of COVID-19 cannot possibly change the attitude of some of our kababayan who would rather put themselves – and their families – at risk of infection.
Higher authorities, such as the National Task Force Against COVID-19 and other concerned agencies, will just have to enforce the law. For example, we would like to see due penalties and sanctions imposed on high-profile violators of the rules on ECQ.
That would include some ranking officials of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and a mayor and his police bodyguards, who on separate birthday parties violated the rules on social gathering, anti-liquor ban, failure to wear face masks.
How are these people supposed to enforce the ECQ rules which they themselves made a mockery of?
And, while the deadly threat of the coronavirus pandemic remains, the first typhoon of the year wreaked havoc in the Visayas, particularly Eastern Samar.
Until typhoon Ambo struck, Eastern Samar has been one of the provinces zero confirmed case of COVID-19, because residents have fully cooperated in observing the public health emergency measures, including mass testing and quarantine.
Some 50,000 families or over 250,000 individuals were affected. Tens of thousands of residents of several towns now under water have evacuated to school buildings and other structures being used for quarantine facilities.
Governor Ben Evardone said his constituents are crying for help with food supplies and medical assistance to prevent the possibility of COVID-19 outbreak, particularly in the crowded evacuation centers.
Paging the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and other concerned agencies! Eastern Visayas needs your help. You ought to be prepared for the typhoon season – huwag naman po kayong tutulug-tulog sa pansitan!
This reminds us yet again that natural calamities and epidemics are a fact of life.
Typhoons, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, as well as flu, dengue, tuberculosis, HIV, and coronavirus are a natural phenomenon.
They are bound to affect us one time or another and so do certain Filipino attitudes that even a killer virus could not change.