Since COVID came along

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Is it true? A news report on TV said that local government units, or LGUs are 98 percent ready for classes to open. Anong say ng parents and teachers – are they ready, too? No doubt about it, I am sure children and students are more than ready, most of them having experienced boredom during the past months. No-class days used to be welcomed and enjoyed a lot by students but not no-class, but stay-at-home days! Well, they should realize by now that you can’t have everything.

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For public officials, especially senators and congressmen, the Big Day to look forward to is Monday, July 27, as that is when the President will come out to deliver his annual State of the Nation address. That is an event considered a highlight of an administration, so both President Duterte and his speech advisers must be burning the proverbial midnight oil find the right statements to deliver, and what assurances to give a worried population confronted by a virus, the likes of which has never been experienced before.

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For surely, he cannot avoid the subject, that has have been hogging all the news, networks and conversations, not only among medical personnel, but among all the people who continue to worry about how to prevent this virus from getting to their family and loved ones. Not even the fact that some members are abroad is consolation, in fact, several other countries are worse hit than ours. Think of the numbers of our kababayans who have returned home in boxes, or as ashes! Almost daily we get similar reports, so where can anyone say he or she is safe?

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You would think that prisoners, who cannot go out and mingle with other people would be safe, as closely guarded and isolated as they are. But reports also come from prisons like in Muntinlupa where COVID has also been claiming victims. A puzzling report was that about the move to investigate the deaths of some high-profile inmates from the virus. Who passed it to them and where? Maybe they enjoyed more visiting privileges than others, and such visits had brought the virus?

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How do you think we in the Philippines would be doing if we had a president like the one the Americans have? Instead of calling for more research and efforts to find a cure or vaccine for the pandemic that has also hit his country badly, there he goes, “down-playing” reports of its latest surge in his country. What could be his motto? “If you don’t notice it, it will go away”? Someone should ask Dr. Anthony Fauci to give him a one-on-one lecture on pandemics and how he himself could even be infected! Ah, but he has even tagged Fauci as an “alarmist”.

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When, oh when will the world discover that magic vaccine or cure for this pandemic? Of course we know that scientists and medical professionals from several countries are working very hard on them, but, so far, nobody has shouted “EUREKA” yet. But there was a report that the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada are accusing Russia of trying to steal data they have gathered for the vaccine they are working on. Is Russia again trying to be a contravida? Maybe it wants to preempt all the others and shout “Success”, only someone had squealed on it.

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By the way, the Anti-Terrorism Act was supposed to have taken effect the other day. However, many are still in the dark about what privileges or disadvantages they can expect from it. Will President Duterte mention it in his State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday? But by then, it would have been in effect for several days already. Personally, I am quite unhappy about missing another chance to attend the SONA. Not only did I enjoy taking notes of the President’s speech, since it will be all over the media immediately after, but also the fashion show of the ladies, as well as the cocktail party that follows, where you can hobnob with the VIPs.

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First, my face flushed with pleasure upon getting feedback from readers abroad to my columns. Then it turned red with embarrassment when two of them pointed out that I had wrongly tagged Joe Biden as Trump’s VP, when he was only the past previous VP! Such boo-boos are like arrows in the heart of a columnist, but then, both writers had very inspiring messages as well. Dan Emmett ended with “I enjoy your daily columns!” while Jing Gloria closed with “keep up the good work. Hope VDS continues to publish for years to come.” Those messages really make our hearts swell, despite all the problems we still haven’t surmounted since Mr. COVID came along!*

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