Post-Quarantine Questions

Is it this weekend already? This soon? I have been so accustomed to one or another sort of quarantine that I have lost tracked that the general community quarantine ends this Friday. I felt that it would take some time longer, or it would be extended further with another label of community quarantine. But as of late, that presence of Atty. Harry Roque (which is ever so more amiable than his predecessor) orients the Filipino quarantined community that lifting of barricades will definitely push through this weekend. Well, at least that would be the case for most of the nation. Notably, areas which would transition to the novel label of “modified enhanced community quarantine are populated urban areas. Sadly, Albay is among those which would continue on in this MECQ. What’s with us? Let’s just get cozy at home. On the other hand, how do you get comfortable indoors with this hellish heat? If only we could, we would be loitering inside the malls from opening to closing just to take advantage of the cool air conditioning, which now seems to be a thing of the “old normal”. So, it’s a choice between infection or perspiration.

So, what awaits us the day after May 15? Will my quarantine pass be rendered useless? (Well, it better be, before it gets torn by constant handling and softening due to sweat.) Can we make an appeal to local government units not to draft their own policies with these passes. From GCQ to this weekend’s lifting of the quarantine, I don’t think I heard Atty. Roque made mention of any pass for grocery, pass for check-up, pass for banking transactions, or a pass that is effective only for a day which then would be secured the next cay after waiting in line for about an hour. Can we make an appeal for the mayors to make up their minds in one common system, or better yet just abide by national recommendations? Will the tricycles follow this number coding scheme? I suppose the one passenger rule would continue. But I hope the authorities realize that since one ride carries only one passenger, more tricycles are needed to accommodate commuters. Because with that ridiculous rule, waiting for a ride had been at many times, in vain, and potential passengers are left with no choice but to saunter under the scorching sun. Besides, sooner or later, before classes resume, something has to be done with this and the ‘no back ride’ rule on motorcycles; because how do we imagine kindergarteners and elementary pupils would be taken to and fetched from school. Just imagine three or four siblings going to school with one passenger per tricycle rule. What’s that you say? Online classes? (Nangangarap po tayo ng gising.) Realistically, online classes would require gadgets for pupils and a reliable Internet service. Please cast the glance of your memory across the youngsters who used to play in the middle of the streets; and please assess that proposition in the context of reality. One way or another, the traditional classes would still be held. Maybe seating arrangement could be improvised or hand washing could be practiced more frequently. At least, that would be a more realistic setup opposite teaching through technology. The education system would not have this much of a crisis upon a crisis had information and communication technology been given more importance and instructional time that it deserves. In the K to 12 curriculum, from Kindergarten to Grade 6, ICT would only be part of the lessons in Edukasyong Pantahanan at Pangkabuhayan for about a month in a school year for Grades 4, 5 and 6 pupils. Remember how teachers, parents and concerned citizens had long discouraged the use of computers, tablets and smart phones because of claims that they have detrimental effects on the well-being of children? Remember those people who frowned upon online sources and favored hard copy printed materials for all the values in them? Where are they now? I would love to have a good laugh at them. Going back to transport services, will the jeepneys be coming back down the road? Probably, just half of its passenger capacity would be allowed. Then, in the same way, a single fare would be double the previous rate.

Before this Covid catastrophe conquered us, a normal after school afternoon along Peñafrancia Avenue would have the pedestrians walking along the sides in proximities which would violate social distance requirements. People walk because public utility vehicles were already packed with passengers. I suppose if tricycles and jeepneys would be carrying half the usual load, then more people would be walking who would inevitably be close to each other. Maybe not because they want to, but because there would be limited space on the sides of the road.

Then there’s the typhoon.

“And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being covered with the waves; but Jesus Himself was asleep.” Matthew 8:24