The administration has again come under fire from the Opposition for its pandemic response. Just when you think they had it down pat, they didn’t. Again. The country was the last in the region to experience a Delta-induced surge and so we’re also leading in the number of daily cases again. The past three days have seen record numbers being tallied. Good that they’re mostly mild or asymptomatic. Bad because the Opposition uses it against the administration. It’s election season obviously.
It doesn’t help that the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) can’t seem to make up its mind about how to respond to Delta. They did have enough time to prepare for it. Unfortunately, contingency planning is one of the weaker points of the IATF-EID. To the layman, it sounds simple enough. But try sitting in a meeting where there are at least twenty officials in attendance. You will hear some innovative and some outright stupid ideas being proposed. It’s not a surprise then that the leak about granular lockdowns from Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez was reported by media even if it didn’t have any details.
Then you have the IATF-EID announce a change to general community quarantine (GCQ) for the National Capital Region (NCR) which was met with the usual backlash from the Opposition — they who complain either way when it comes to GCQ or enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), with or without ayuda, preferably with, to make it appear they are “fighting” for those most affected. This is what has the government reeling. The Opposition is forcing it to fight a battle on several fronts at the same time. The passive-aggressive stance of the Opposition is symptomatic of narcissistic personality disorder. I’m not kidding. Read about it and you will see that the symptoms are classic.
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There are a lot of factors to consider in granular lockdowns. Truth be told even the subsequent ECQs weren’t as strict as the first one. It’s no surprise then why we are recording an increasing number of new cases. The economy is shot. Inflation is running high. Interest rates are about to go up because the US is also experiencing inflation due to the Democrats’ policies. The US not only has a record budget deficit. It also has record numbers for debt levels and trade deficit. It does not help that after October 8, the political temperature will be going up several notches higher as the cast for the 2022 election is completed.
Government and the private sector should sit down and talk about digitization. Covid is endemic. There’s no use in thinking herd immunity is attainable given the prevalence of the Delta variant. The private sector should spend for the testing of its employees. A vaccine mandate should be issued. Vaccination should be ramped up nationwide. The administration has been focusing on public health and the economy. Education can’t afford to take the backseat anymore. Public educational institutions are seeing record enrolment numbers again and private schools are teetering on the edge of bankruptcy. There should be a dialogue between government and private educational institutions. Maybe the government can issue vouchers for private schools to pick up the overflow from state universities and colleges. This will give private schools some breathing room until limited face-to-face classes can be piloted.
The Department of Transportation (DOTr) should also address the issue of mobility. There is no physical distancing enforced in public utility vehicles (PUVs). Jeepneys should not be allowed to ply their routes anymore. The drivers can be retrained to become delivery riders for which demand is still high. There should be route rationalization so that feeder routes to the light rail system can be organized on an intermodal point-to-point basis. Once MRT-7 is operational, the Edsa bus carousel should be scrapped. Definitely the NCR transport system should be designed in a manner that conforms with the observance of minimum health protocols.
There are a million and one details which government needs to address. Unfortunately, the bureaucrats aren’t capable of outside-the-box thinking. It doesn’t help also that other sectoral representatives go out and leak videos of the IATF-EID meetings when discussions become heated. All this is in aid of politicking for the Opposition. This kind of behavior shouldn’t be tolerated. We can’t call on media to be responsible because they are on the side of the Opposition and will do whatever it takes to get the public to turn against the administration. The success of granular lockdowns is on the local government units (LGUs). Unfortunately, the LGUs have shown that they aren’t good for much either. The NCR mayors couldn’t even adopt a uniform contact-tracing system. There is no digital vaccination card. What they give you is a piece of printed cardboard. This also holds true for national government departments which are part of the pandemic response under the IATF-EID.
The Opposition would like to blame this all on the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte but they conveniently forget it was they who were in power before. So this is on them. Covid will not go away should Vice President Leni Robredo become the President through whatever means. The pandemic response will not get any better because you can’t build hospitals in thirty days. The same is true with the government bureaucracy. The Opposition can’t even come up with stop-gap measures. They’re only good for PR stunts to make it appear they’re doing something that works. If that were the case, then why isn’t it being adopted by the LGUs?
It’s time to put our critical thinking caps on because the Opposition is preying on the public with its victim mentality approach. We should show them that this and their other traditional demolition methods, don’t work anymore.
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