ON TOP of the situation can never be applicable to the Covid-19 pandemic. The situation being in perpetual flux, for now at least.
Local government executives who are wont to say this at every chance they get to reassure their constituents that – under their inspired, caring leadership –everything is alright are in grave danger of falling flat on their faces, once the slightest disturbance pops out. Like one more PUI in the barangay, or even a single instance of the social-distancing killer that is the free-for-all in the provision of quarantine passes and relief goods.
Rather than claiming the impossibility of being on top, LGUs can only aspire to be be on tap. Even at that, but a few really can. At least based on what we have seen, heard, read so far.
Top-of-mind awareness of LGUs on tap takes Pasig Mayor Vico Sotto to the very top, with Marikina’s Marcy Teodoro, San Juan’s Francis Zamora, and yes, Manila’s Ko-is Moreno as runners-up, though not necessarily in that order.
In Pampanga, Gov. Dennis “Delta” Pineda is living up to the highest expectations of the good public servant. In character, so the Capampangan believes, forged as most apparently Delta has been in the crucible of calamities – the perennial floods in the province, the avian influenza, African swine flu; even outside Pampanga, as in the typhoons and earthquakes in Mindanao and, foremost, the Taal Volcano eruptions.His caring persona thus impacted in the national psyche.
At the time Malacanang’s response to the novel coronavirus-19 was the haughty “Sampalin ko pa ang veerus na yan,” Pineda was already starting the mobilization of health resources, staff and facilities, and barangay health workers, and has not stopped since: moving on to administrative measures as the suspension of classes, work schedules, declaration of a state of calamity, to the provision of goods at the time of the lockdown.
All these and more are no mere public knowledge but, more significantly, publicly felt.
Among Pampanga mayors, a number have had their Warholian 15 minutes of fame with singular acts that nonetheless impressed their constituents, and netizens.
At the time supermarket shelves and drug stores were swept clean of their alcohol stocks, there was Apalit’s Oscar “Jun” Tetangco distributing bottles of alcohol house-to-house. Once–damned polluter in town, Far East Alcohol Corp. rising to the occasion there.
There was Guagua’s Dante Torres, arguably the most–suspended, never-convicted, most-cleared mayor in Central Luzon, if not in the whole country, ordering the disinfection of all public utility vehicles, at the time their operations were not yet suspended.
There is Lubao’s Esmie G. Pineda, megaphone in hand, personally going around her municipality, to ensure proper social distancing is being observed in the public markets, grocery stores, as well as in the queuesfor quarantine passes.
Missing – superimposed on a picture of City of San Fernando Mayor Edwin “EdSa” Santiago – became atrending meme, hitting thousands of negative emojis and comments.
No, the mayor has not been actually missing from all the action to contain Covid-19 in the capital city. He has been working quietly, far remote from public view, for so long that he was deemed as MIA.
EdSa has since resurfaced – all too publicly –personally delivering relief goods, inspecting the checkpoints, meeting barangay chiefs and LGU employees, etcetera.
Where EdSa was “missed,” Angeles City MayorCarmelo “Pogi” Lazatin was, and still is, found everywhere on the Covid-19 front.
Unarguably, no other mayor – in the whole country, I dare write – has issued as many directives ormemoranda as Lazatin. He was among the first, if not the first, to declare the suspension of classes, the 4-day work week, the closure of non-essential establishmentslike bars, nightclubs, spas, massage parlors and the like; the prohibition of entry to the city of buses, billing suspension or payment extension, designation of Covid-19 centers in the city hospital, city-wide disinfection, placement of the city under a state of calamity, free shuttle services for frontliners, limitation on purchase of essential goods to avoid hoarding, food provisions, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.
All this points to Pogi verily living up to his name, to use that overwrought cliché.
And yes, on an even metaphoric level, Delta – where ariverine of services flows to that greater body that is the well-being of the Capampangan.
On tap, literally. That is “freely available whenever, wherever needed.”