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Email from a Friend

Last April 21, I received an email from a friend in the Philippines. With his permission, I am sharing through this column excerpts from his email that describe the current situation in the homeland. My friend is a small business owner, but like many of the Filipinos, he is not exempt from the hardships caused by the current dispensation.

Below are excerpts from my friend’s email.

Glad to hear of the good news from your end. Not so good on our end. After one year of continuous lockdown of varying degrees, we still can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.

You’ve asked the big question: Why retired generals are in charge not just of the Covid campaign but in more than half of the major government institutions? Most of these institutions are actually being run by young inexperienced pseudo intellectuals who are free to toss their theories onto the fray but do not get the blame for their missteps and miscalculations, which have caused more harm than good on those they are supposed to help.

Then you have a health secretary who is the most incompetent and obnoxious for this post, but he continues to receive favor from DU30.

The community pantries that have cropped up like wildfire all over the country have been suspected of promoting anti-government sentiments and are, therefore, being red-tagged and their leaders profiled as communists. 

You asked me earlier of my projections for the future and I opined a NO-EL scenario. If you still remember, one of the priority activities of DU30 was to visit as many military camps all over the country. Then came almost 50 appointments of retired military generals to posts where they had no known competency. 

Lately, the brouhaha over the occupation of several reefs by Chinese military and fishing vessels in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) received much attention. For the first time, we actually saw the extent of the Chinese development of around seven reefs which clearly showed large airfields and runways, deep sea ports, silos, concrete buildings, etc. We have actually been invaded by the Chinese with hardly any objections raised by government except to say that hindi natin kayang labanan ang Chinese forces. 

These happened when DU30 disappeared for almost two weeks. Defense Secretary Lorenzana “got” the Covid; DILG Sec. Ret. Gen. Ano also was infected with the Covid.

I suspect the reason why America sent an aircraft carrier along with French and English vessels to the WPS was they had to react to protect their national interests. I don’t think they asked DU30’s permission to do so. They must have been alarmed with developments also in the Taiwan straits so they took it upon themselves to tell China to back off.

Now China is proclaiming that the US does not have any right to impose their views on others while keeping us under their thumbs. 

Now there is talk among the military both retired and active of withdrawing support for DU30 because of the glaring invasion of China of Philippine territory. I personally felt so offended by what I saw of the Chinese occupation that I am willing to take up arms at my old age to fight them off instead of DU30 just raising his hands in helpless surrender.

Things are getting so out of control that what I said earlier that we’d be lucky to be vaccinated by next year is getting to be a dilang anghel. Last month, we were asked to fill up a form for scheduling of our vaccination but hanggang doon na lang. They always report of vaccines scheduled to arrive this week or early March, then April, ngayon May pero walang dumadating except for a handful.

Even simple acts like wanting to help others thru community pantries are suspected to be anti-government acts. They forget that NGOs exist or crop up when government is unable to provide basic services that the people need.

Things are so bad we’ve had to sell off some of our assets to remain financially viable. Hirap ang tao, hirap ang jobs, hirap ang stores and restaurants, hirap na rin kami as employers.

At least some of our employees appreciate our situation and tell others to cooperate even more because it is a matter of staying afloat or losing their jobs. They are most grateful that despite the hardships we are facing, we managed to gift them last Easter with two kilos of rice, a whole dressed chicken and a half dozen mamon. My wife and I have been giving presents to our employees not just on Christmas but also on Easter.

The recent two-week extension of the lockdown caused another 1.5 million workers to lose their jobs. 

Travel is still a dream for us. So enjoy your visit to your apos.

Good luck to us all and pray that we approximate your ideal conditions as soon as possible.


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