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EDITORIAL: New Normal Needs To Be Epal and Corruption Free

What the so called “New Normal” has in store for all of us is really difficult to figure out. Even the hastily crafted guidelines either for the General Community Quarantine or Enhanced Community Quarantine are wanting of easy directions to track down the details. A lot of fine tuning is needed. A situation that is understandable given the urgency of the task on hand.

Health and hygiene concerns render certain practices temporarily necessary and acceptable. But they should never be taken as a “new normal”. Otherwise an atmosphere that is certainly sociologically abnormal would lead to complacency or at worst, docility.

The difficulty in diagnosing the symptoms of the current situation lies in the fact that the term new normal is being applied in wholesale manner. Experts in the medical field must be referring to the practices necessary to temporarily contain a rapid spread of the coronavirus pandemic at least domestically. About four are worth discussing.

Frequent hand washing, use of disinfectant like alcohol is of course advisable. Regular body cleaning, with or without Covid-19, is a laudable practice. For the sake of others, coughing etiquettes are a must. All of them should come as a matter of course to ensure germs immunity.

Face mask wearing, though medically necessary, can never be an indicator of normalcy. It makes inhaling and exhaling constricted. Facility of speech is also affected. But better to suffer difficulty in breathing temporarily is better than no longer breathing at all. Rendering adverse effects on speech for the meantime may cause discomfort. But at least we can still speak.

Social or physical distancing requires reciprocity, voluntariness and constant reminder. It is therefore complicated to enforce, given that the overall population far outnumbers the enforcers. There is no guarantee at all that such practice would last for a considerable period of time.

Be that as it may, self preservation and pragmatism leave us no choice but to observe these health and hygiene protocols.

As to lockdowns—(home or community quarantines), there is no assurance of prolonged popular acceptance. It can never be normal.

Lest it is already forgotten, “ibon man may layang lumipad, kulungin mo at umiiyak”, that used to be a very effective rallying sentiment during the conjugal dictatorship, still hits a sensitive signal among libertarians. Resilience and even submissiveness have their own limits.

Economic reliefs like social amelioration have their own funding limitation so that over reliance on it might drive certain segments of the society into complacency or numbness and is dangerously driving people towards the evolution of a nation of mendicants. People surrender their self dignity and eventually the drive for respect and self reliance.

Let no one therefore entertain the thought that these pandemic and propaganda infected credit grabbing practices by some government officials can be ever considered a new normal. To yield to such abnormalities would give way to the irregularities committed in the implementation and distribution of amelioration funds, exacerbated by the shameless posturing (epal) by traditional political leaders who ceaselessly resort to mud slinging, even to the extent of creating platforms on social media for the purpose.

It is only hoped that a vaccine against Covid-19 is invented more expeditiously in order that real normalcy, minus the traditional politician’s posturing and credit grabbing for funds released that are purely public in nature, arises.

Then and only then may a new normal shall merit popular acceptance.

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