Changing Tides, Changing Times



With my left arm still hurting a bit and my blood pressure maintained on a normal rate, we stood witness to the throng of people holding their forms waiting on the line, and the even larger throng of people outside the town plaza wanting to hold a form and wait on that line. But despite this enormous turnout, you have to compliment the rural health unit and the municipal hall for the orderly and fast pace of the phases. It didn’t take long for one to transfer from the blood pressure check and that thing they put on one finger, which my sister tells me, is called an oximeter, to the staff who checks and encodes the data on the forms, to the doctor who conducts an interview, then finally to the actual shot.


I was told that there was actually 800 units of vaccine for inoculation that day; but official public announcement only declared 200 doses, to prevent the event from getting run over by vaccine volunteers. But while standing outside, I heard a female telling another female to keep waiting because there’s actually 800 in there. So much for the 200 press release. There must have been a leak of information somewhere along the chain. So, what happens if the doses don’t get distributed completely that day? Well, another vaccination will be scheduled the next day to use up all those doses. But by the looks of the mass of people, I think all those shots will be injected.


So, what happened to all those rumored anti-vaxers? Where did all the paranoia go? Mind you, these are small town rural folk who could have been gullible to conspiracy theories of effects of disease, death, infertility and transformation into zombies, allegedly caused by the vaccine, not to mention the adverse allergic effects. But much like the large turnout of walk-“in” aspirants for vaccination weeks ago at the JMR Coliseum, people are volunteering for vaccination en masse. Once again, we are overrun with overwhelming evidence that negative opinions have been overcome by optimism. People who used to run from the injection, have now stopped with pensive faces and thinking to themselves, “wait a minute”. People who initially marked “no” on the registration must have turned on the “undecided” side. People who used to mark themselves as “undecided”, now have turned “yes” and have showed up in vaccination centers.


As I go on with my weekend, watching for any adverse effect that never really came, much to the disbelief of people who think that there should be at least a little fever, I think to myself, hey, wait, maybe these changing of minds and tides are not limited to simple folk, but could be a wave that extends to the national leadership. As a kid back in 1988, I was shocked to have known then that the Philippines has not once won a gold medal. Now, the whole nation is raining confetti in celebration for its first Olympic gold, thanks to weightlifter, Hydilyn Diaz. After 96 times of joining the summer Olympics and gasping for gold, we finally got it after almost a century. Of course, any Filipino who would achieve such milestone is expected to pay a courtesy call to the President of the Republic, who currently happens to be President Rodrigo Duterte. What message could the President have for the First Filipino Olympic gold medalist? Well, among the conventional congratulations, the President told gold medalist Diaz to “let bygones be bygones”. What? What is the President asking Hydilyn Diaz to forget about? Could these bygones have something to do with the release of an alleged matrix of personalities allegedly conspiring to overthrow President. Duterte, presented by then Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo in May 2019?


More recently, the same President of our nation has decided to renew the Visiting Forces Agreement with the United States of America which coincidentally is the rival with People’s Republic of China which is chums with the President. Now, that’s an interesting chain that we can draw a diagram of. That development certainly is so much less of a big news when the President made statements of scrapping off the treaty which could only be nullified by act of Congress, all because the US visa of Sen. Bato de la Rosa was cancelled, as a response of the US to reports of the PNP’s extra-judicial killings. If the President was spewing out curses then, now, he is more sober in his declarations. He even reiterated the partnership between Philippines and the US in his similarly sober statement of gratitude for the donations of vaccines. What could have brought about this change? Could it be something about China and the West Philippine Sea?


“A wise man will hear and increase in learning, And a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel” -Proverbs 1:5