MECQ down our throats

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We have yet to see the effects of the reinstated use of Home Quarantine Passes (HQP) but overnight and with only half of pass-holders able to use it, we found ourselves on lockdown anew and asking whether those HQPs will still be of use or not.

As of this writing, we are still in limbo as to what awaits us as we have yet to see the new Executive Order from Mayor Bing Leonardia. Some just went ahead with their daily routine as if they did not hear the MECQ declaration rather than waste their time mulling what’s ahead and attempt to guess what the EO contains.

There are many who view the MECQ negatively, and what is even more alarming is that many of them believe the spread of COVID is a myth concocted by those in power who want to capitalize on the pandemic. This is scary because these views from people who chose to remain ignorant, will endanger us more, as they are the ones who are prone to violate health protocols.

Stories of people ill with other ailments but are allegedly labelled as COVID so hospitals can make money really saddens me as these come from people whom you think would have some shred of intelligence to know that COVID is a serious problem.

There are some who think we wouldn’t be in this greater mess now if we heeded the “timeout” call sought by the medical community weeks ago. And I agree because if we only took notice of the double digit rise in cases then and listened to the medical experts, we will not be in this triple digit trend now.

I’ve seen posts blaming the mass testing for our MECQ status. Some of them believe that it was planned to flush out the positives and make this a justification for more funding.

I beg to disagree because the mass testing was needed to determine how widespread the infection has set-in and which areas are most susceptible so that programs can be implemented to curb the spread.

Of course, along with agreeing to the mass testing, the LGUs should have anticipated a rise in positive cases and should have drafted protocols that will cover isolating these patients, massive contact tracing and testing as soon as they got the results.

Some officials believe that positivity rate of those tested will only be around 5 percent. Unfortunately, Bacolod’s figures have breached 10 percent and even if we just peg contact tracing at 10 other people for each positive, we are looking at 5,000 more that needs to be immediately isolated and tested.

Our elevation to MECQ did not surprise me at all. What surprised me was the fact that it seems the city government did not anticipate such, otherwise how come there is no EO to that effect prepared ahead?

Mayor Bing said that they thought they will just be presenting our situation to the NIATF when they arrive here today. But NIATF chair, Sec. Carlito Galvez was quoted that even before they recommended to the president our MECQ status, he was in close coordination with Mayor Bing. Was that possibility never discussed in those conversations then?

All that is water under the bridge and I am more interested as to how the mayor will respond to this. What happens now? What are our actions on the positives and their contacts? What about the basic needs of the masses who are dependent on daily wage or income? What about our businesses and their workers?

Of course, we cannot just drop all these on the mayor’s lap as he has more than enough on his plate just addressing the COVID spread. But then again, we had months of dry-run and apart from the counterpart fund for the CLMMRH molecular biolab and numerous conferences with this and that, there is nothing else that the city can lay claim as something they did concretely in addressing the pandemic.

I feel envious seeing the new Isolation Facility in Dumaguete City which was finished in 60 days under a P46 million budget. Such a small city that does not bear the tag of “highly-urbanized” has done that while our city that has billions in budget have nothing to show.

The public’s sentiments against Mayor Bing have been quite harsh to say the least. I too have been very critical because like most Bacolodnons, it is frustrating that despite the public health crisis we are in, the city government failed to act on augmenting our health facilities and providing for our health workers.

As early as March three resolutions that could have addressed these vital needs were filed by Councilor Al Victor Espino. One is establishing and constructing a quarantine facility for COVID-19 treatment. Another is creating a primary health care that will help decongest our public hospitals especially since CLMMRH was appointed as a dedicated-COVID hospital. And lastly, a temporary facility to house doctors, nurses, health workers and other volunteers for their own health and safety and that of their families.

None was acted upon. And now we cry for help from the national government? Where are the billions? And you wonder why critics are on the rise?*

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