To be fair, to begin with, this is no ordinary bug. It kills, although being afflicted with is not an automatic death sentence. Our local experience proves that because out of more than 38,805 confirmed cases, only about 1,274 have died, or 3 percent, a better when compared other countries. In other words, things could have turned out for the worse. Either we’re lucky or we’re doing the right thing, both arguable assumptions.
Consider this, for instance: in the 15h century when the bubonic plague struck Europe, people were dying like flies, according to historians. The French Montaigne, who invented the essay, reportedly abandoned his town Bordeaux where he was the mayor because of the severity of disease. It was reported that at the end of it, around 14,000 people in town — or one third of his constituents — perished.
Without the bubonic plague, the essay would not probably have been invented. Some disasters are not really all that bad. Sen. Pia Cayetano somehow hinted at this truism when she made the astute observation that the COVID exposed the flaws in our country’s health system. Of course, that insipid remark didn’t sit well with many people, especially from the Department of Health. Blessing in disguise is rearview, not a preview.
COVID 19, which is less fatal, is far from blowing out anytime soon in the absence of a vaccine yet, although hopes are in air that one or two under test look promising. There are observations made by medical experts that the bug is also weakening, no longer as lethal as it was at the beginning. An Indian doctor, however, cautioned that the nirvana is far from being in sight.
When I asked former City of San Fernando mayor and Pampanga Congressman Rey B. Aquino about it, he made a cool scientific guess that the virus must be mutating. Which is consistent with the description by America’s leading expert on infectious diseases, Anthony Fauci, that it is a protean enemy.
This is not unlike a political turncoat. Only, the pandemic virus has been tagged as a more intelligent one, according to Fauci’s boss, Donald Trump, whose presidential fate now seems sealed and ready to be delivered by the American electorate. Whether that includes Gabby Lopez of ABS-CBN, whose franchise still lies somewhere in the south, is one of Deputy Speaker Rodante Marcoleta’s pet peeves.
If you ask President Duterte, without the vaccine, he would prefer students to ha ve an extended break from school. It’s not true, though, that semestral breaks were his favorite time of the year. But there were times he seemed to have confessed that by admitting his unusually longer stay in high school and the grades that his late mother would cry over.
I was told that this idea of Duterte isn’t an original. Deputy Speaker Aurelio “Dong” Gonzales, Jr, who nearly snatched the House speakership from Alan Peter Cayetano, is said to have broached the idea to his political idol. At the rate he’s turning politics into kid’s play, potential rivals, past and present, could just be one-day old chicks. Eat your heart out, Mr. Kermit.
Notwithstanding the bug that bugs us, we should think positive, a mindset merrily espoused by the eternally gay, as in happy and gay, Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque.
When the infection cases didn’t reach the 40,000 figure last June 30 that a group from U.P predicted, Roque proudly waved the flag and said we’re winning by defeating the U.P. team. Some people reminded him that we’re fighting the virus, not the people with the iconic sablay. Although implicit in Roque’s celebration was that the team was a sablay in its projection. Roque should be reminded that nobody is perfect, not even those from the premier university. Roque as Exhibit A, your honor, please.
Vice President Leni Robredo has pointed out this existential reality to Roque and the Administration he spoke exceedingly well of. They’re in state of denial, mistaking their glaring lapses for victory laps and missteps for strategies.
Roque rebukes the Veep for missing the beef, accusing her of focusing on the glass half empty instead of the glass half-full. Which really means the same thing, when you come down to it. One says, we need to do more. The other says, we’re doing something. Being the former and present spox, Roque has anointed himself as the one with the final word: Duterte has done it’s best, period. But’s there’s popular song that challenges that. And it’s not IKAW.
Robredo might as well have paraphrased the poignant preface of Nobel prize novelist John Steinbeck in “East of Eden:” Well, here’s your glass. Nearly everything is in it, and it’s half-full. Pain and death are in it, and feeling bad and evil thoughts and good thoughts and some despair are in it. And on top of these are all the appreciation and good wish for you. Still, the glass isn’t full.’
With Cebu City now considered as the new epicenter of the virus and more hotsposts being identified in the Visayas and Mindanao, the prediction is that by end of July the COVID would have walloped some 60,000 people. So the administration is rattled by the worrisome trend and is back to putting other areas under stricter lockdown rules. As ever, the guys who lead the so-called war on the invisible enemy are military men who were trained to shoot at what they see.
Either the public is already tired or has surrendered to this frustrating approach that some say resembles insanity — using the same tactic over and over again and expecting different results.
Perhaps, ethics, not tactics, will help improve the results. The favorite megastar of Duterte’s daughter-city mayor Inday Sara has cried for decency in the midst of the pandemic that has also spawned character assassination and threats of violence.
There’s hope for Sharon. Duterte has approved the return of the GMRC subject in school. Another good step in that direction is for politicians and their allies, regardless of political color, leading the way as the exemplars. It’s out of the box. But considering that the box is only half-full, it’s worth the try.