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Naga Scares

Have you heard of the story of how the monkeys saved the fish? Once in a place where a river flows near a mountain, a violent storm suddenly poured heavy rains. All animals rushed for refuge. The monkeys quickly pranced toward the higher ground of the mountain. Soon, the heavy downpour caused a great flood that made the river waters overflow and rise close to the mountainside. The water rose high enough for the monkeys to see the fish flipping near the surface. At the sight of this, the monkeys were struck with deep concern for the fish. One monkey exclaimed that the fish would drown. Another monkey quickly resolved that they should help the fish from drowning in the flood. Immediately, the monkeys grabbed all the fish they could take hold of near the water’s surface and piled them on the higher ground. That is how the monkeys saved the fish. That is an African folk tale.

Recently, in Naga City, Executive Order 2020-018 was released. The order provides for every mall in the city to set a window time of two hours once a week, preferably Saturday or Sunday for senior citizens, persons with disability and pregnant women. This directive has been given under the premise that the aforementioned groups of people are more vulnerable to infection to the Corona virus, presumably more so than persons with ages below 60, without a diagnosed disability, and is not bearing child. This comes under the guise of love and care.

Before this order, a person with disability or a pregnant woman could purchase goods at the SM City Naga Supermarket or Robinson’s or Vista Mall at any time of the seven days of the week, within the mall hours which is an extent of 8 hours a day. Not only that, they have had the privilege of the priority lane and the discount )for senior citizens and persons with disability) as provided by national law. With this order, senior citizens, PWDs and pregnant women get an exclusive time of 2 hours in one exclusive day of the week, because they love and care for us so much. Let me paint the picture to you. Before this order, any person with disability could access the supermarket anytime in 56 hours in a week. Now, because of their love and concern, they would now be given an exclusive time of 2 hours. That’s a 96% decrease from the original length of accessible time. Let me illustrate further. Before this order, a pregnant woman could enjoy a whole piece of cake. Suddenly, because some people love her so much, she would now be able to exclusively enjoy a little more than 3% of the original size. That isn’t even a quarter of a slice. Oh, but that’s exclusively hers. Yeah, right? What does a PWD do now? Run to the next mall with the soonest window time?

Maybe, I’m missing the point here. Those special two hours are exclusive for senior citizens, persons with disability and pregnant women; no other people would be there who could possibly infect them. Apparently, this is operating under the premise that the said groups of people are more ‘vulnerable’ to infection. Okay, maybe the seniors are closer to vulnerability; but how does disability bring a person to vulnerability to respiratory infection, closer than those without disability? A person has visual impairment and has difficulty seeing. Does that make him/her more susceptible to viruses, because he/she couldn’t see it coming? A person has hearing impairment and has difficulty with auditory and speech faculties. Does that make him/her more prone to Covid? Because he/she couldn’t hear it coming? A person has crutches or wheelchair bound. Does that make him/her more defenceless from virus? Because they won’t be able to run from them? A person has autism. Does that neurological condition make him/her more vulnerable to respiratory infection? A person has intellectual disability. Would virus draw closer to him/her? Where does that vulnerability idea come from? The truth is a person with disability is as much as vulnerable to the corona virus as anyone who does not have any disability. But monkeys are so overwhelmed with concern for fish that might drown that they should do something to save from drowning. Oh, poor fish. Oh poorer monkeys. Didn’t they know that the fish won’t drown? Didn’t they know or bother to ask that persons with disability are not any more vulnerable to Covid than a pumped up, ripped muscle bound bodybuilder? But the monkeys were so overcome with concern while the fish were drowning in their care.

What is difficult to bear is when they scare when they think they care.

“Let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.” 1 John 3:18

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