Calm down in Lockdown

Amazing. It’s like we’re suddenly living in an apocalyptic war movie. It’s like staying indoors in “Birdbox” minus whatever that thing that doesn’t have to be seen; or like “The Sound of Music” (or any movie set in Nazi Europe) in the part when the von Trapps escape to Switzerland, minus the Nazis, or “The Walking Dead” minus the zombies. Normal life activity has been put on hold for 28 days (or maybe longer). It’s a grateful relief that this occurs not as a result of a foreign invasion in which we could be under threat of bombs randomly falling when sirens are sounded, or some pestilence is looming to strike when exposed outdoors, or on a more realistic note, not because any earthquake aftershock may shake the ground or torrential typhoon may thrash and trample all our traces. The weather has not been unfavorable. Despite the scheduled start of dry season, it has not been hurtingly hot and humid. It has been raining; but not to the point of inconvenience, which makes it a good time to cuddle up in bed. Lights would turn on when we flip the switches. TV stations run regular programming. (Well, if you’re one of the fans of the noontime and weekly variety shows, the program may not be so regular, but that’s not disastrously distressing.). Not to imply that indolence is ideal; but employees get a breather from assignments since even the bosses are on a break anyway. Think of it as a vacation; just scrap off the get-together and going swimming.

We should have done this when the reasonable area for quarantine was still limited to Metro Manila. Now the President and his cohorts have been forced to take off their attention from whatever they were planning to do with the ABS-CBN franchise to combat against Covid 19 which judging from the press briefings, the President seems to be awkward in conducting, since he presumed to wage a war against drugs, not on virus. But since we can’t take back time, the move of the Enhanced Community Quarantine deserves appreciation and submission. The included regulations are far better than the previously released procedures which included limiting assemblies to not more than 200 participants and maintaining individual distance of 2 meters. How do you ridiculously implement that? Besides that, what is the basis of the limit of 200 people or 50 people, or even 2 meter distance? It takes only two people to transfer virus, the carrier and the receiver. At least, with the regulations released on the evening of March 16, the government is finally doing what it should have done and be doing, taking a strong strict stand to stop the spread of the disease; and by so doing, force the local government units and agencies whose heads have incomprehensibly, inexplicably, unintelligibly, unfathomably and perplexingly long hesitated to take stronger solutions to the problem. On press releases, these leaders have pitifully exerted so much effort to allay people’s worries, banking on past survivals against previous viruses. I’m sure there’s an argumentative fallacy there. I just didn’t pay enough attention in my Philosophy class. What do they have to lose in suspension of normal operations?

Now, while we leave the health professionals to do the noble job of striking against this strain, what do we do with our fellow Luzon residents whose employment depend on daily exercises, or those whose jobs involve social proximity like massage, hair care, direct sales and the like, or those whose bread and butter is not related to the basic essentials? Right now, my mother is getting worried with how she will purchase her next set of medicine. I heard that DSWD has been given directives to prepare for the necessities of casualties of the quarantine, but that should be for the ones furthest down the poverty level. But what about those who don’t count as indigent but won’t get paid because they won’t be able to practice their trade?

Years from now, those who were children today would remember 2020 and wonder why they did not take their final examinations that year (that is, presuming everything reverts back to normal after this). But I hope far greater than those memories, we take from the experience the value of preparation for any unfavorable event – to keep watch and pray. On a practical note, I hope this experience burns on the Filipino psyche, the significance of saving for rainy days; because domestic confinement and suspension of work would not hurt as much if you got a piggy bank to break. Furthermore, for whatever it’s worth, I hope we take from this experience the esteem for the greater good of the community, the immediate readiness to sacrifice convenience, sentimentality and tradition for the security and safety of our fellow human being.

“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” Psalm 91:1