God bless the Philippines!

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Did I hear it right? Did a hospital in Ohio, U.S.A. really discover a cure for the coronavirus infection? The report identified the medicine as the Catalopram tablet, but after its announcement the other day, nothing more was reported on it. Let us all hope and pray that relief is on the way, and that all those studies and experiments going on for a vaccine will be successful. In the meantime let us continue observing all the precautions being issued to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe.

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What we need to be concerned about are the reports that there seems to be tension developing between Russia and the United States. What a time for conflicts to arise when everybody, and all nations should be cooperating with each other in order to fight this pandemic that does not take sides, but attacks wherever it pleases. But what could the two big giants be arguing about? Surely not their search for a medicine or a vaccine against the pandemic that we are all trying to cope with? These two have the most advanced studies in science and medicine, shouldn’t they be working together, pool their brilliant minds and resources to save humanity?

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Couldn’t they take a cue from the United Arab Republic and Israel that have been reported to have come to friendlier terms and discovering their economic and cultural ties? The report must have caused a lot of other countries and leaders to breathe easier. After all this pandemic does not choose the people or the countries it attacks, so the more cooperation and joining of studies and discoveries to fight it will certainly benefit not only a few countries, but possibly the entire inhabitants of this world.

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How will Philhealth do with a president and Chief Executive Officer who is not a doctor but a lawyer? The previous one is in hot water on suspicions, or perceptions that a “Mafia” was operating within the agency that had impoverished it and prevented it from performing the functions it should. Worse, it has been reported to have no more funds left to be able to serve the people. Yes, an investigation has been ordered, but we have heard of so many investigations in the past, but never about their outcomes. This time, however, the President is said to be fuming mad, so something might come out, and heads may roll. But will the missing funds be retrieved?

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Meanwhile, what are the plans of our Education Department? Are we going to open and start classes, or wait until this pandemic has been vanguished? In some countries, like France and China, reports say that classes will start but with strict precautions for both students and teachers. I wonder how that will be possible, or work 100 percent. Note that not even the required wearing of masks and even shields has not reduced the statistics on cases, not only in our country, but elsewhere. Of course students, especially the younger ones are now restless and raring to join their friends at work and play, but will they be safe?

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I don’t want to be an alarmist but I just heard from TV that in the United States, 38 colleges and universities have reported cases of infections among students. Ought we to risk that by also starting classes? I guess a lot of parents will be dismayed in case no classes will be authorized because they will have the added worry of seeing to it that their kids do not go out, roam around, and risk contamination. I wonder what is the latest decision from the Department of Education on this issue.

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More and more, news keep coming out about the efficacy of the local plant “Lagundi” in treating COVID patients. However, so far, no actual cases of recoveries have been reported, so there is still no assurance that it does work. I also heard that the approval of the Food and Drug Administration is needed for it to be introduced. So what is the FDA waiting for? Does it not have scientists who can be entrusted with the study of how its medicinal value can be confirmed, and tested? As they say, “ Necessity is the mother of invention”. After all the reports and mention of lagundi in the media, why hasn’t any effort been made to test it?

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A sad development also concerns employees who were informed when the pandemic started that their lay-offs would only be temporary. Now most of them have received the depressing notice that “temporary” will be converted to “permanent” because the companies they were working for are folding up, and can no longer hire them back. How many thousands, maybe millions of workers are in that situation? My greatest fear is that this may lead not only to despair and hunger among the jobless, but could also result in a rise in crime. Let us all pray for our countrymen and women in such situations, that they may find other sources of income to keep themselves, their families and their faith going. God Bless the Philippines!*

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