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Which Protocol did you fail to follow?

What happens if a man who digs a hole, falls into that very hole he dug?

What happens if a farmer’s plantation gets raided by pests, right after spraying pesticide?

What happens if the laptop of a computer expert gets infected with a malware that corrupts almost the entire system?

”Well, it can range from being fired to being executed.”

This is the response of BARRY ROYDEN who WAS the Director of Counterintelligence for the CIA from 1997 through 2001 to the question, “What happens to intelligence agents who get caught?”, in a Business Insider interview.

Furthermore, he says, “If you’re a Russian intelligence officer who works for us, in the extreme case they may be executed. More often, people go to jail for a while. And sometimes, they just lose their job.” (

I was sipping my early morning coffee on my favourite spot, overlooking the street in front of our house, where I could immerse myself in some fresh air while still hearing the news from the TV in the living room. It was one of those days when I could take my time on a day which is set as my “work from home”. Not being fully awake, I thought I heard something from the news, which I quickly dismissed as something I must have heard wrong. But then I heard it again. Bicol Medical Center is in national news? I had to get up to listen more closely. The BMC Covid-19 ward has reached full capacity of patients. These are our next door neighbors who have caught the virus. So are those of the private hospitals. Local cases have hiked up at a level that it’s newsworthy to be reported on national TV. How’s that for progress? We’re approaching the level of Cebu, Davao and Manila. Well, we’re still a long way off. But with a little more work of complacency, we may very well reach that level; (just like how the Philippines has managed to be in the same league with France, Spain, UK, the US, far from Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and East Timor which have impressively contained the contagion). Just last year, local numbers were kept at relatively minimal two digits. Now, the filled up capacity of the assigned wards speak for themselves.

As we advance through the possibly infected atmosphere, within our face masks, those of us who care could only let out a sigh of helpless resignation. What is there left to say? What is there left to say that has not been already said? I guess it is what it is.

What makes me shake my head in frustration is that this number of cases includes people who should be fighting in the prevention of infection, and protection of our communal section.

Perhaps, one could argue that as fate would have it, accidents are a phenomenon which is out of the control of our hands. It is simply a fact that they could randomly occur, not excluding the people who are posted to prevent them. Oh yes, yes, maybe that man who dug a hole on the ground, just slipped and happened to fall on his hole. Maybe that farmer, for some reason, failed to spray enough pesticide efficiently, that after all the effort, his crops still got feasted on by vermin. Maybe, for some reason of laxity, the computer expert forgot to install antivirus that his own device has become disabled. But on the other hand, should they not have known better to have avoided such events? Should that not digger have known better where and how to stand to keep him from slipping down? Should not that farmer have known better to spray those chemicals properly for them to be really effective? Should not that IT expert have known better to safeguard his own computer?

(My highest respects to our doctors and nurses who fight in the real frontlines. This is not for you.)

Last year, the local authorities took pride in presenting their contingency plan in facing eventual Covid cases, which was structured like they would be guarding the Papal visit, or carrying out Secret Service procedures for a US President, with hopeful remarks then of not having to use the facilities. Now, how many times have those been used?

Now, which protocol did you fail to follow? Did you wear your mask on your chin or did you eat candy with your hands dirty? Let’s see. Did you party after the wedding reception, with your buddies out of sight or did you join the excursion overnight?

“for whatever one sows, that will he also reap”

Galatians 6:7


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