Breaking through Borders

Isn’t the whole point of the various levels of quarantine and lockdown for people to stay put to avoid a chain of infection; thereby decreasing Covid positive cases? Then, why does the national government all of a sudden, is opening up border checkpoints, encouraging and supporting stranded students and Metro Manila migrants to go home to the provinces? Do not these run in direct conflict against the core principle of the quarantine and lockdown which is for people to stay where they are and not to move about? I guess going home would be beneficial emotionally and financially. I suppose such would put family members’ minds at rest; and ease the financial burdens of surviving in Metro Manila in the middle of the curse of Covid. Economic refugees from the provinces who plunge into the pool of poverty in Metro Manila has been long a perennial problem for decades now. Perhaps there would be considerable merits to returning them to their provinces. But why now? Why is there a renewed and revitalized effort towards this end in the middle of the Covid crisis? Is it even timely? First of all, would not human mobility increase the risk of infection? Second, the Balik Probinsya program seems to operate on the premise that Metro Manila city life is rough and tough and provincial life, on the other hand is sweet and serene and economically easy. When new organisms are introduced to an ecosystem (despite this ecosystem being their origin many years past), there is a very high probability that these newbies will have a rough and tough time to acclimatize, to find suitable trade and reap decent profit from it; not to mention the natural competition in which repatriates would be at a disadvantage. What’s the idea behind this? Is this a scheme to scrap off social amelioration program beneficiaries? Maybe the solution would create more problems.

I heard some LGU officials are getting antsy with the national governments breaking down the border barricades. Well, if you really think about it, that does grant free passage to potential Covid positive cases. That’s an easy access for the virus to voluntarily violate the virtues of a village. Why would the national government push us closer to such peril? Could it be that some local government officials have stepped over some boundaries in implementing community quarantine guidelines, that the higher-ups would rather directly manage matters by themselves? Have you not wondered why some borders are more responsive and some are more restrictive? Then, it is even more astonishing that the reasons for the latter are not mentioned by Atty. Harry Roque in his public announcements.

The latest act of autonomy is Naga’s supposed window time for persons with disability to only purchase their essentials exclusively on a day of the week. Now, why do I feel like a European Jew being moved to a ghetto? Why do I feel like an Alabama African American being pushed on the rear of a bus? Does this regulation not run against the principles of priority and inclusivity which are promoted for PWDs? Differently abled persons, as some people would prefer to refer to them, are provided by law to be given priority, along with senior citizens. So, how do we put them on priority, when they would be welcomed only on a week-END? So, what should happen if a person with visual impairment tries to buy medicine? Should he be told to come back on Saturday? Well, the so-called window may not be on a weekend. It could be any day of the week. What now happens to the priority lanes on the rest of the week? Do they become exclusively empty? The government implements programs for persons with disability and other marginalized sectors to promote inclusivity; to include them in the mainstream society, so that they won’t be left out. How does consent to shop exclusively on one day align with the principle of inclusivity? And the question on top of it all, why do we need this in the middle of the Covid crisis? How is this supposed to help protect us from the virus? Maybe some senior citizens are vulnerable to respiratory disorders. But a person’s hearing impairment does not make him vulnerable to any virus. In fact, with sign language, he could get along just like any person. A person does not become more susceptible to any virus, just because he walks with crutches. The same is true with people with autism or intellectual disability. They don’t need an exclusive time to purchase goods. They need to buy goods at a time when they need it, which could be any time, any day of a week.

How ironic. Some people are so patriotically protective of the city’s borders, while unmindfully disrespecting some sector’s boundaries.

“Do not move the ancient boundary Or go into the fields of the fatherless,” Proverbs 23:10