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COVID and power-grabbing

Twinkling with Ninfa R. Leonardia

It is now February and there seems to be no chance of schools reopening yet in the Philippines. Well, there is supposed to be online learning, but is it available to all, especially those in the rural areas? Will students there be missing a whole year of studies? It seems unbelievable that a malady like this COVID could affect even the education  of the young, but there it is – thousands of students may have missed their chances of going into the next phase of their studies, but, perhaps they and their parents should be grateful that they have not been infected by this new virus that has inflicted its  viciousness worldwide.

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But we in the Philippines should, perhaps, even be thankful  that the virus has been, if not controlled, somewhat minimized or spreading as fast as it is doing in other countries. Even the United States, with all its advances in medicine and science, has  been experiencing rapid spreading of the infections in some of its areas. But if many Philippine towns and cities have been able to minimize the infections, it could be due to the fact that our people have been more obedient in abiding with the “protocols” that could have protected them.

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I recall that many were complaining when Bacolod City made the requirement of wearing masks all the time while outside their homes a legal issue by ordering the arrest of those who were not complying. I don’t know how many arrests had been made, but I do see that almost everyone, I think even everyone, you see on the streets and on public vehicles are obediently wearing them. Who will sympathize with those who got infected because they would not comply with the requirement? Like parents of the old ages, say when they have to punish their children: “This is for your own good.”

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Let us see if the announcement that the vaccine roll-out  in the Philippines will take place on February 15, the day after Valentine’s Day. The target is said to be 50 to 70 million people as recipients, with at least 100 vaccinated every single day. Isn’t  that rather short of our need? Perhaps what the announcement was 100 per day in every town, or city. With the way the virus is spreading, the more people immunized via vaccination, the better for our population.

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But it seems this new virus has a very mischievous nature because after a certain vaccine  or medication is introduced, a new “variant” also comes out, mystifying both medical practitioners and scientists. When Astrazeneca was introduced  in South Africa, it seemed to be a panacea, but a new variant then came out to further confuse both science and medicine  experts. Our officials, local as well  as national, should be thankful that our people are not as stubborn as those in other countries who seem to have a death wish by not protecting themselves even with the very simple armor of a mask!

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Despite the pandemic that you would think will occupy people’s attention and concerns, some countries still have their minds on power-grabbing, as in Myanmar, where the military seized the authority of its leader, the gentle lady Aung San Su Kyi, and held her captive. Her people, are protesting, holding marches and calling for her release but are finding themselves now under Martial Law. Will there be a godfather of the country to help them, or will things now continue  for all time?

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Meanwhile our government, through the Department of Foreign Affairs is working for the repatriation  of Filipinos who are either working or are residents of Myanmar. There is now no telling  how things will end, with the military holding on, and the citizenry objecting. Our “kababayans” may  getcaught in the crossfire, so to speak, and will probably be grateful  for the chance to come home . However, there may be others who have become  citizens there, or have established families who may not want to leave. Well, the choice is theirs.

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I heard  an announcement that there will be no disconnections  for non-payment of water bills until March. That’s a very humane decision, but what about electric bills? Will there also be some kind of relief for homeowners, especially those who use only the minimum of power in their homes? I hope our government will consider that aspect, too because this is one time when our people have so many burdens to bear. And that is to say nothing more about this vicious COVID that so easily found its way worldwide after being unearthed in Wuhan.*

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