Torn between two Bothers



I send my shout out to you if your electric cooperative has not restored power yet, if some amount of flood water has not subsided yet, and if your Internet service provider has not restored you online. At least, all around downtown, everything seems to be back to normal. It’s simply amazing how we manage to get up every time something like this happens. The generator sets have been relegated to the cellars from the center stage. Lights are on at night; I can finally watch Youtube for hours, and tricycles crisscross all over the city streets. Do you ride a tricycle at all these days? You have to admit it that the ride has become more comfortable with that space to yourself. That solitary space comes with a price of twenty bucks.

In case anyone of us has forgotten already, this one per tricycle ride scheme is part of protocols on social distancing, so none of us gets too close to each other and initiate some infection. The traditional tricycle travel could get really cramped up with four passengers inside and two behind the driver. Initially, I guess we got the shock of the twenty peso fare but that’s a relief from walking long distance under the scorching summer sun. The national charts say that Camarines Sur is low risk for Covid-19; but undeniably, cases seemingly pop out of nowhere here and there; and you can never really be too sure how to dodge away from it. Depending on your concern/complacency level, a tricycle for twenty is more than worth than the sure safety. Although we don’t really know how our friends fall victim to this mutated flu, it would be worth all the effort to do everything we can to keep away from close distances to prevent infection. In the holy name of health, it is justifiable to keep tricycle rides exclusive for one passenger.

On the other hand, what should two people who live within a single quarters do when taking a tricycle ride? Should they hitch in two separate three-wheeled wagons in a convoy? Well, if you could chance on those taxicles, that would be allowable. But if two people who always get in close distance, as with husband and wife, siblings, parent and child or whatever relationship you could think of, who already breathe the same uninfected oxygen, what’s the point of keeping them apart in a 15 to 20 minute ride? Would that not ridiculously nullify any effort of prevention of infection? Have you tried hitching a tricycle ride home in the downtown streets in the early evening? The east side of General Luna is lined with passengers desperately waving for trykes to stop. That effort would go to no avail because all the tricycles that would pass by have already one passenger on each of them. No matter how hard a trip applicant waves his hand, and no matter how the driver would want to stop and load another passenger, that just would not happen. But when drivers and would be passengers meet in the outskirts of the downtown area, away from the authorities, rides resort back to the old normal.

I guess this issue would be resolved only when a vaccine becomes available. From Naga to New York, everyone has been anticipating for that long awaited medicine that would come in a syringe shot. What seemed to be wishful thinking less than a year ago, is becoming reality within our fingertips supposedly in a matter of months. The world seems to be in a simultaneous overdrive for the Covid-19 vaccine, from top ranking USA to second wave Europe and still struggling Philippines which stands to be host for clinical trials. Outgoing US President Trump is hyping it up. President Duterte already paid in advance. I suppose that would be a good decision; rather than end up at the bottom of the primacy list. The government has already made a priority list of groups of people to take the shot; so line up frontliners and senior citizens because you’ll get front row seats. Apparently, that much coveted Covid-19 vaccine would be the panacea to this age’s health, social and economic troubles.

But on the other hand, there seems to be a sweeping fear among Filipinos on rolling up the sleeve and taking an injection. For years now, since Dengvaxia which as much as we would want to slip under the rug, haunts the nation with actual cases of deaths. The fear is so real that DOH and DepEd even before the pandemic, have faced utmost difficulties in convincing parents of the safety of measles and polio vaccines. After all, who would want to get a seizure after taking immunization which is supposed to make you immune from disease, then would turn out to deliver you to death? Then there’s this conspiracy theory that this immunization campaign is a big scheme of the Anti-Christ for implanting microchips as marks for the coming of the Beast.

So if they don’t get vaccinated, how are the tricycle drivers going to load more than one passenger?

“Their heart is divided; now shall they be found faulty: he shall break down their altars, he shall spoil their images.” Hosea 10:2