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Foresight in the rear view mirror


Hindsight is 20/20.

So, a little more than two weeks into the dystopic, existential milieu we’re in, there have been  some noticeable, if incremental, improvements on how government can be more competent. To be sure, the plan still lacks enough form, function and substance, the holy grail called curve is forcing those in the leadership roles to learn like parachuters do: on the way down.

We hope that, when they land, they hit the ground running, so speak, and to flatten the curve, if not  ahead of it, at least no longer chasing it. As they say, it’s hard to hit a moving target, let alone an invicible one.

There are, at least, two tweakings that inspire hope and can help build more confidence and, yes, trust: the messengers and the message. The military general Carlito Galvez, looks like a sober and sensible leader who understands his role and the  vox populi. The message  is no longer as combobulated and contradictory as it was in the beginning.  And then, like a whiff of balm,  a  fresh young face addressing issues on COVID instead of the usual  and familiar who seemed bored and wooden and unfeeling anymore.

Now, we have a clear idea where the elephant in the room is wreaking havoc like the run-away behemoth in George Orwell’s  essay “Shooting an Elephant”. Using it as fitting analogy, now the marksman that’s the government can shoot it dead, instead of the real victims, the poor and hungry, as  promised  by the stressor-in-chief.  Never mind if they’re allegedly from the left.   Everybody now is at the front center of this catastrophe called “the  beast” and  is disoriented  by the forbidden closeness called lockdown.

According to Galvez, Metro Manila has more than 50 percent of COVID-cases,  the rest has been recorded in different numbers throughout the country. Central Luzon, for one, has only  65  known cases and 5 deaths.  Numbers and facts, like polls, can be helpful if not used as drunkard does with a lampost:  for support  instead  of illumination.

Accordingly, any new plan for the current enhanced community quarantine, whether it’s going to be an extension or not,  should draw more confidence and cooperation from the people because those  playing a leaderhip roles are on a steady  and sure  (scientific and  facts based) footing to get the job done and move everyone in the right direction.

Looking back,  we should have been ahead of the game but for costly lapses in time and decisions.   Let just let the dogs lick the spilt milk for now.

This week, I was surfing online for COVID updates from  all the world when I chanced upon the national action plan of Ireland on this health pandemic.  If was the first time I ever saw one.  It was systematic, strategic and, most of all, humane. (It can be downloaded by those who can apply it in their own space and time.

In particular , I was impressed by one of its aims, which is to minimize the risk of people becoming unwell. Or dis-ease. That,I take to mean, is not only  about physical wellness but emotional as well. Maybe spirituality, too. Ireland , like the Philippines is a Catholic country. Except that, I heard, malls there are closed at 6 pm.

And then, it occured to me that, perhaps, Pampanga has really  a small number of COVID cases because, in fact, many people have been prepared  to have the kind of wellness they need in times  of health problem like this. Or put it, another way, the risk of many in Pampanga becoming unwell had  been minimized  long, long before.

In the storied time of former Pampanga governor, now vice governor, Lilia ” Nanay” PIneda, her unprecedented emphasis  on health as as  flagship project  had been the talk of the town. At no other time in the province history probably when so many had been benefitted by the projects.  From goiter operation to cancer chemotheraphy,  thousands had been given access to free treatment and financial assistance.

(There were even rumors at the time that  provincial government still owed some  accredited hospitals for services rendered).

I remember that one senatorial candidate cited Pineda’s health program as one of the best, if not the best, in  the country. If I am not mistaken, this achievement, along with others as impactful,had earned her an honorary doctoral degree. It’s an unparalled psychic reward but it’s nothing compared to what she probably felt whenever she talked to people in need of health assistance in her office.

Some media men have, wittingly or unwittingly, caricatured her role playing  by mimicking how  she would act like a doctor when she interviewed one who asked for medical assistance, or  instantly  metarphosed into  an engineer when  she reprimanded public work engineers  for poor and lousy craftmanships.

In other words, many had been made well and that state of being may have served them  well in these trying times.

We’re still in the middle of an enormous crisis, and it’s early to tell how much Nanay’s health thrust helped parried the  potential and incalculable risk created b y this invicible monster of a  virus to Kapampangans.

When this is all over, the first thing that the  provincial government can do is really find  that out, based on facts, not politics, and use it as a foundation upon which the province health program  in the future can  based. The likes of Nanay come and go, but viruses will always be with us, like the poor.          

And you’ll never know when the next “beast”  will come from nowhere.


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