EDITORIAL: Under Scrutiny



Executive Order (EO) No. 2021-026 “Declaring certain areas of the City of Naga under Enhanced Community Quarantine, during weekends and those with clustered community transmission as determined by the Health Emergency Response Task Force under granular lockdown” of Naga City Mayor Nelson Legacion has invited a variety of comments on social media.


Of course, some are positive, others are negative and some are officious. In a community where thankfully freedom of expression is still respected, that is to be expected.


Many comments are too long and would need therefore much space. That is why collating the comments and summarizing them is necessary.


A lawyer asserted that police authorities assisting those manning the borders should equip themselves with gadgets, which may be of help in the enforcement of health protocols, instead of long firearms.


The comment was responded to by one who pointed out that firearms are needed by the law enforcers for their own protection and in order to maintain orderliness, especially because most people are stubborn (pasaway).


One who seems to be from Libmanan town argued that LGU Naga should not be blamed for the meteoric rise of Covid-19 cases in Naga City and its environs. Instead, the vaccination activity needs to be expedited. Furthermore, the LGU plan to purchase its own vaccines should be granted by the national government posthaste, he asserted.


A more sober comment pointed out that the number of positive cases in Naga and for that matter in the entire Camarines Sur province is not really that shocking, percentage wise, given their huge population as compared to the other Bicol areas.


What seems to be very disturbing is the comment that those tested positive are mostly mild and more of a case of flu (trangkaso), which in this season of the year is widespread hereabouts and that medicines for treating flu are effective. A rather baseless assertion but which merits consideration given that the infection of the virus has already reached an alarming level.


That is why health authorities should treat the situation in a more serious and not dismissive manner. By its very title, EO No. 2021-026 is vague and very lengthy, a violation of the rules on communication techniques. They include among others the criteria on community clustered transmission; how is transmission considered community clustered? And what is a community as understood by the IATF?


These concerns should be well clarified among the citizenry given that many of them do not know technical terms. Unless these matters are properly explained, there is a strong possibility that a larger segment of the populace will tend to lose faith in the science-based treatment of illnesses and by eventually resorting to self-medication.


To date, certain personnel of a hospital publicly pointed out that those with mild symptoms are advised not to immediately have themselves confined thereat given the prospect of being infected with a more severe virus. Besides from the practical point of view, being in self quarantine but duly observant of the minimum health protocols is likely less dangerous, unless panic prevails.


Scientific medication is seriously under scrutiny.