Alert Level Free

We Went to eat at a place which serves pizza, chicken and pasta. At the entrance, I fumbled for my vaccination card and the QR ID card for contact tracing. But the staff who supposedly at that time serves as the doorman made the customary greeting and let us pass. Okay, so maybe they forgot to check. We all could forget sometimes. After the meal, we went to another food shop to take out a couple of orders of roasted chicken. (you must be starting to think that I eat a lot.) Again, we scrambled inside our pockets for the ID cards in the presumption that they would be checked upon entrance. Besides, I personally believe that these checks (if properly and consistently executed) would help us in controlling the spread of the disease (or at least, that’s what they’re designed for). To our surprise, the similar thing happened. We were just welcomed in without even a mention of any card which needs to be presented. We were immediately received to the hall with a growing queue of clients who were starting to crowd that small space. Okay, maybe we just coincidentally chanced upon two establishments which failed to remember to check the cards. Maybe those happened once for those two shops. But wait, I noticed that the doormen didn’t check everyone else who entered. As we were heading towards the jeepney stop, we could not help noticing the small retail shops which were installed around the plazas. So, this is alert level 3.

I like this better. It so much easier to say alert level 1, 2 or 3, than ECQ, MECQ, GCQ or MGCQ which got my sister who resides in New Zealand confused on which is higher or lower. At least, this current alert system is easier on the articulation; and any foreigner would quickly comprehend what each level implies. In the first place, whoever thought of the community quarantine terms? They just wanted to calm the public with a euphemism for “lockdown” By giving the impression that everything was okay and under control; and by doing so, everything went to be not okay and out of control.

For the sake of comparison, we’re on alert level 3, while NCR which naturally takes the highest level due to population size and density, and initial contact with overseas arrivals, is on alert level 2. Well, there is not much of a difference, just a notch higher.

According to DOH reports the local spread of Omicron variant in Bicol is due to the recent arrival of Filipinos from the U.s. (Wait, my sister and her kids just visited from Virginia.) That is a good indicator for the economy. Filipinos visiting Bicol from the US would bring in dollars which should strengthen local industries. Of course, the stateside Bicolanos would avail of some form of transport, public, private or those which informally rent their services. They would go around to shell out cash for pinangat and natong which they probably missed. If they’re just visiting, they would buy stuff at the souvenir shops and stock up pili candy on the luggage. Despite the current circumstances, they most definitely went to some resort at least once. You get my point. They couldn’t have stayed here without spending; and of course, as human nature and Filipino culture go, they would spend; and spread.

Until now, I still come across friends who could not resist coughing while insisting that they’re on the way to recovery. They say that it’s naturally the flu season; and it’s all natural. Well, yes, maybe; but when I think of January, I think of a season of renewal of business permits, employment contracts, and transport franchise registrations. In the past years, I don’t remember people lining up to have their personal data sheets notarized or get their community tax certificates, or waiting at the People’s Hall for the permit renewals, and having a hard time with a conversation because of a bad case of cough, or taking a long time to fill out a contract because of body pain. I guess they have that in US or other countries, but I don’t think we have a flu season. January is a time when people are up and about for new year of enterprise, of planning in organizations, of preparing for Chinese New Year and Valentine’s Day which will present business opportunities. Come on; January is a time of fireworks and files to fold, not of cough and cold.

Now, despite the cough and cold, it seems that we’re on alert level free. - 1 Corinthians 16:13

Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.