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EDITORIAL: Exodus to Provinces

By the time this piece comes out in print form, a photo depicting about 30 individuals alighting from what appears to be a cargo truck that crossed the Del Gallego, Camarines Sur border with apparent ease, shall have become viral. Also shown in the picture are some vehicles which may be considered colorum vans, that seemed to be reserved to transport people to their points of destination elsewhere in the Bicol region.

As to be expected, certain quarters would respond negatively and condemn violations of border control protocols which are understandable given that the border violators are potential Covid-19 virus carriers. The reaction is understandable though not absolute.

While it may be true that failure to comply with certain protocols for appropriate determination whether they are positive or not of the deadly virus infection is condemnable, a more compassionate treatment of their plight needs to be embraced. The tagalog saying—“Ang taong gipit kahit sa patalim pilit na kumakapit” applies. In plain it is highly probable that they are left no choice but to escape from the Covid-19 infection affecting the so called Metro Manila and NCR plus areas, if only to survive. It is therefore a matter of life and death. An exodus to the provinces.

The assurance of a P1,000 per head “ayuda” can only give a semblance of security. Life in Metro Manila is so expensive that the measly amount is good for only two days maximum, given that the reimposition of ECQ (Enhanced Community Quarantine) is likely to last for more than two weeks. Where shall one draw funds for the remaining period?

This is not to justify an illegal act. Rather government authorities should have been more circumspect in managing the pandemic and not simply herd people by instilling fear and threats.

For one and without necessarily siding with Vice President Leni Robredo, the IATF components need to revisit their planning approach. For instance given that circumstances are certain to influence decision making, they should have a more systematic approach by adopting a doable but detailed time bound action plan, with measurable results foreseeable.

As it is the approach being adopted by government authorities is reflective of a reactionary, without due regard to functions and responsibilities for activities outlined within a fixed time frame or timeline.

As we all know simply coming up with activities without concrete strategies of implementation, guarantees nothing else but failure or chaos and confusion. Those responsible for decision making are wanting of pro-activity. They only contribute further to the people’s panic.

An example is the very general description of people found positive of the virus. As a consequence, hospitals are already overwhelmed. This can partly be attributed to the fact that the positive cases have been classified as one. Of late they have realized the error and redirected their approach by segregating the serous, high risk and moderate cases, which shall be used as a tool in determining who are to be confined in hospitals or be simply quarantined. This is long overdue.

It is only hoped that the move is not yet too late. People are dying and many more shall probably perish. Simply tossing accountability for the fiasco to the citizenry in general for none observance of protocols is most unfair and reprehensible.

The moment of reckoning is fast approaching. It is only wished that history will judge those responsible for the sorry situation with more kindness and understanding.


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