Out of the Woods?

It’s in the air all over and you can feel it. No, not the virus. The atmosphere seems to be whispering comfortingly and reassuringly that soon, we’ll be out of the woods. Oh yes, just a few more steps or sprints. As I’m writing this and hopefully until anyone will be reading this, lockdown barricades in some blocks have reportedly been taken down which is a good indicator of the local Covid status. We haven’t had any recent deaths. In the past week, no new local case has been reported. Initially, Albay and Catanduanes were included in the list of provinces to have an extended ECQ, which I have long not understood because Albay as a whole and some of its component municipalities have implemented their lockdown before the national government put Luzon on quarantine. Catanduanes on the other hand should have had an easier time of prevention because as an island, the province has already been isolated by nature itself. So, how did we manage to get in a league close to NCR? Let’s get some answers to this so we could use them on future threats of infections. But as of late, the two provinces have been slashed off the list and the region as a whole won’t be going on an extension; but rather would go general from enhanced. So, we went from community quarantine to enhanced, in some cases, extreme enhanced, then would be going to general. Should not “general” be a higher level than “”enhanced”? Wouldn’t be “modified” be a more appropriate term? (Oh, well…) On the regional level (and on the national level, depending on whether one would look at the glass as half-full or half-empty), we’re looking good; not quite out of the woods, but it seems that we’re near somewhere near a clear dirt road. Clasp those palms and fingers tight together in prayer that no renegade and rogue case pops up in the last two minutes of the game that would pull us all away from the light of the clearing. Because pessimism aside, in the realm of probabilities, such a case could very well happen. In the local trend, cases would sporadically surprise is in a manner, place and time which authorities have not anticipated. For all we know, we may be taking the privilege of movement to get a much needed haircut, then in a snap, we all go back to domestic confinement. But for now, let’s relish those rays of sunlight of hope peeking through the cracks of thesis cruel curse.

The breeze blows even cooler in that air of hope in our local community as the local sari-sari store is being crowded with shoppers straight from the barangay multi-purpose hall where social amelioration payout was distributed. One recipient commented that he did not expect that lining up to receive the cash aid would take that long. I know that Naga residents have received theirs weeks or even probably a month before some municipalities have released the assistance. There have also been reports of large differences in the amount of aid disbursed among municipalities and provinces. At least, we have kilos of rice which we could alternately cook from the customary boiling to lugaw/goto, fried rice, champorado or whatever you can think of. Sardine paella sounds good. At least, the sari-sari store business boom is evidence that local recipients are categorically utilizing the amelioration for real necessities. There have been reports of citizens expending the aid on liquor and drugs. One outrageous case is that Bulacan lady who apparently needed social amelioration for her hair rebonding. If some people deemed it worthy to invest resources which have been appropriated for basic necessities, than maybe, liquor, stimulants and hair aesthetics are what they consider or feel to be essential to existence. Maybe nourishment and nutrition are not that rudimentary of a need for them. Then after this virus is fixed, maybe something can be done to fix the perspectives of these people. But have not institutions been doing that long before this crisis?

As people ages between 20 and 60 look forward to the beaming hopes of the general quarantine, let’s reconcile how we are to actually go about with proximity and predominant practices. How does a common Filipino go out to work or whatever? He/she may ride a pedicab or a habal-habal or a tricycle. Maybe, he/she lives near the highway that a jeepney ride could be taken after a short walk. A habal-habal ride would need the passenger to ride close to the driver. A pedicab with a reasonable number of two passenger would sit close to each other in any way you put it. Rarely does a tricycle run with a single passenger. Some would even have two passengers behind the driver. How about the traditional jampacked jeepney? Let’s reconcile that with social distance.

“The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him, and rescues them.” Psalm 32:7