How to love Family and Freedom

Dai na talaga mapapugul.

Hours before I finish writing this article, national news reports 25 persons headed towards Camarines Sur, who tested Covid positive on the rapid test on a checkpoint on the road. Yet, they were permitted to pass through. The news anchor had the sense to question why the 25 were allowed to get through, and suggested that they should have been recommended to return to their point of origin.

(On the other hand, why do I perceive that move to be unfair? Perhaps, if I were residing in the place where the bus comes from, or in the place where the checkpoint was, wouldn’t I want the persons who tested positive to go home, far from my place where they could cause infection?)

Apparently, the authorities in the point of origin and in the checkpoint are leaving to the local government units of the destination of the bus passengers to take care of the problem. Picture the situation in a bus ride from Manila to Bicol; especially on those ordinary and possibly unregistered buses. One passenger could get off somewhere in Sipocot. Another one could jump down in San Fernando. Still, some could step down along Diversion Road, just before the bus takes that turn to the terminal. How are the LGUs going to keep track of these people who love and miss their families and friends so much, that they would want to hug and kiss them, go out with them, and call the buddies for a late night drink. Yes, I want to emphasize that further. These people returning home, love their family and friends so much that they want so much to be physically together with them, be near with them, dine out and shop around with them, then later in the evening, have a few bottles of moderate drinking with some friends and their friends. There is a deep longing for family and friendship, and to see them all well and healthy. . Yes, I just want to emphasize that concern for togetherness. How sweetly sacrificial.

Supposedly, suspected cases are enjoined to place themselves in home quarantine. But I guess, we have some problems here. It could be that some people don’t really understand what “home quarantine” means. For their sake, it means staying at home; and that means strictly staying at home, no going out. Actually, being in quarantine would mean staying in one room and restraining from interactions with other members of the household. Another possibility is that people may be fully aware of the definition but choose to disregard the protocols; engaging in social interaction with the household, with the neighborhood, and across the town painting it red with virus. This is where I’m having a problem. How could one who is aware of protocols bring himself/herself to blatantly disregard protocols and procedures? Is it a profound emotional yearning for kin to be together, no matter what? Is it that spirit of freedom to spread one’s wings and taste the zest of life without any restrictions? Is it that false perception of immunity that Covid-19 only exists in the media, in Manila and a select few in the local milieu?

Okay, whatever it is, let’s just accept it. Maybe we can’t question that strong desire for family and friends to be together that video chat would not simply do it. Maybe these limits recommended by the authorities are simply too much of a burden to the free spirit. Maybe Covid-19 simply is not real enough for some people. But even with those sentiments standing stable and strong in people’s hearts and minds, should not infection be prevented if they simply wear masks, keep some distance, and disinfect regularly? But I guess that would not follow logically. If a person longs to be with family so much, why should he/she let a face covering and physical distance get in the way? If a person would not want to be restricted with rules, why would he/she let himself/herself be restricted with suffocating surgical masks, and be burdened with baths, or stalled with social distance? Those would simply violate family togetherness and the free spirit or the bon of friendship. No disease, no data, no decree set by man or institution should ever stand in the way of fellowship of family and friends and flight of freedom.

In the Spillway area, in Concepcion Pequeña, despite the lockdown, some residents attempt or manage to find ways to break through barricades to accomplish tasks which would not be conventionally considered as essential. There is blatant and utter carelessness; as if one’s actions would not jeopardize other people’s situations.

“Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” Philippians 2:4