MGCQ it is!

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Most of our readers have probably read that The Visayan DAILY STAR is in financial trouble and may (or may not?) close down. That is not news as there have been many establishments, some even fiscally stable than the STAR, that closed shop because revenues are not forthcoming.

Many former writers of this paper came out with their tribute, remembering both the good and the bad times. But most were in agreement that TVDS helped hone their skills and was a good starting point before they moved on to other places.

I grew up with TVDS where everyone was either a Tito or Tita. I remember waiting up for Daddy to finish writing outside their office which was then beside the Paglaum Bakery. Tito Vic Salazar, Tito Primo Esleyer, Tita Ivy Visitacion, Tita Buddai Piccio, Tito Mode Sa-onoy, Tita Ninfa Leonardia and many more, were not just Dad’s colleagues, but his friends.

Many TVDS staff are my friends too. Carla Gomez has invested so much of herself in this paper that we often joked with her to “get a life” outside of TVDS especially when she rushes off to close the paper while we are in the midst of festivities.

Gilbert Bayoran, Nida Buenafe, Chrysee Samillano, are old timers who have become personal friends. Marchel Espina who is not related to us, has become an adopted Espina, calling my dad “Lolo,” my brother Nonoy, her “Tatay,” but stops short of calling me Tita knowing I will crucify her.

I feel for Tita Ninfa when she wrote that very emotional piece of how TVDS is struggling amidst this pandemic and that generated so much responses from online followers, many of whom were sorry to see an institution fold, but many were also hopeful that it will reopen again.

Honestly, when I heard the news, the first thing I thought of was Daddy. He would have been devastated to hear about this news, thus I know how Tita Ninfa feels and the rest of the staff who devote 24/7 of their lives around the paper.

Marili and Mel Bascon reacted to my post saying that their father, Tito Dodong Bascon, who recently passed away, would have been heartbroken as well as the TVDS was part of his life, as it has been for most Negrenses who were loyal to the Star as their main source of information.

Whatever happens from hereon is anybody’s guess but until TVDS writes 30, I will continue to keep my commitment and write my piece.
We continue to see a rising trend in COVID-19 cases in the city and yesterday, the city government had a fancy information drive caravan to inform the people that starting today, strict implementation of health protocols, particularly wearing of face masks, hand washing, social distancing, halting mass gatherings, and using that stupid motorcycle barrier or face fines.

But yesterday, Malacañang announced that apart from face masks, there will also be mandatory use of face shields. Jeez, we are even having difficulty in implementing use of face masks and many have opted to wear washable cloth masks as it is cheaper. Then here comes Malacañang requiring face shields which can cost as low as P60 to as high as P230. My friend even has a P5,000 face shield which he claims has added UV-ray protection as advertised.

The info drive done by the city was in preparation for stringent guidelines to stem local transmission. However, what many thought would be a GCQ, implemented as an ECQ with curfew and liquor bans in restaurants and night hubs and closure of borders is now down the drain as Malacañang announced that apart from Metro Manila and certain parts of Luzon, Cebu and Zamboanga, all other LGUs will only be on MGCQ.

That certainly was the pits for the local IATF whom I heard stayed late into the night to finish the new guidelines, only to be met with such an announcement the following day from the President, who by the way, reiterated his seriousness in advocating for the use of gasoline as a disinfectant.

I know our local leaders will always play politics when dealing with the national government lest they be left behind in the distribution of projects. However, we’ve seen how this administration has dealt with the crisis and if we continue to play footsie to their orders, then woe to all of us.

Local leaders know better the situation on the ground. They can call it MGCQ or whatever they want but if the local government feels we ought to be stricter in our guidelines to curb local transmission, then just do it. Bear in mind that your voters are here and not in Malacañang and at the end of the day, it will be the locals who will judge how you addressed this pandemic.

Regardless of political leanings, the people just want our LGUs to be successful in dealing with this crisis as public health safety is paramount. To hell with what Malacañang says. They have been losing this war anyway so it is up to us to defend ourselves.*

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October 2020
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