Testing, testing …

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What steps has our government taken against that entity who reportedly referred to our country as “the Philippines, Province of China”? Susmariosep! Was it a foreign entity, or someone from China itself? Wasn’t that a diplomatic faux pas that should be responded to with the proper legal steps? It might have been an honest mistake, but, considering present world conditions, a correction or apology should be demanded from whoever used that term. I hope it was only some ignoramus who did that, and other Chinese people do not adopt it, too.

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It seems unbelievable but international news reports have reported that the United States has the highest number of casualties from this pandemic that seems to have no intentions of calming down until now. One cannot blame the people from being paranoid now when the casualties seem to be growing everywhere with still no drug or medicine perfected to fight against it. How could such a new virus astound all the best scientific and medical minds of the world? Man has circumnavigated the globe, has even sent human beings to the moon, but this new virus has confounded our best minds, so far.

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But some good news recently came out that a Philipine source announced that the rate of infections has stabilized in our country because of the introduction of a new drug. Unfortunately, the drug was not named, nor the scientist, and how soon it would be available. The government should step in and demand from whoever this specialist is, to share his discovery, or knowledge about how to handle this disease that seems to be raging on and has lasted for more than six months now. Our people are panicking, because the number of those stricken is much more than those of the recoveries.

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But there is another new test to determine whether a person has the virus or not and it is called the saliva test. That means, doctors will not have to poke into one’s nose – which I heard is very painful – but only provide the laboratory with his or her saliva. Best of all, the results can be released within three hours only, unlike the previous ones that took several days. I wonder if that is already available nationwide, and if local hospitals have been cued on how to administer it.

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It seems as if the American people are now more focused on their coming elections than on other matters. Well, that is only a perception, because the news we get lately seem to concentrate on the two political parties that have been holding their conventions in preparation for their polls in November. Whatever else was reported about the later convention, that was of the Republicans, one thing that stood out was that those present, including their main contender, Donald Trump, were not wearing masks! And there was no social distancing, either! Were they all confident that they were all free from the virus and were one hundred percent sure that not one of the thousands present was positive for the most feared virus of the century?

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Two more days and it will be September, and still classes have not opened as they used to do which was in June or July. But the debate going is whether or not face-to-face classes will be allowed, and not the online method being proposed. Well, the latter will certainly be safer for both students and teachers, but will it be available in all parts of the country especially the distant barangays where such facilities may not be available? Can the government afford or, with virtually no more time, to be able to supply all schools with the mechanisms to adopt it?

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Furthermore, a lot of schools and even colleges and universities have been converted to quarantine facilities in view of this pandemic we are all struggling with. So even education is being affected, and there is not much we can do about it. But I think “hindi tayo nag-iisa” – we are not alone, in this as other countries have the same problems. So we have to make do with what facilities we can provide our younger generation who need to go to school. I am sure teachers, being the martyrs that they have always been, will still be willing to do their jobs, no matter what the circumstances are.

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A bit of good news is that Jose Mari Chan, one of our country’s most popular and talented singers, is set to go carolling for the Christmas season and even if it may be done online, it will cheer up our people and make them forget the gloom before Christmas comes. Jose Mari Chan is such a talented, charming and thoughtful performer who has no airs unlike other celebrities with mediocre talents. The last time he performed in Bacolod was, I think at a festival of the Chinese community, and when I wrote about it, he sent me a tape recording of his songs! Aside from the talent God gave him, he was also granted empathy and an exemplary family. God bless him.*

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