By Ermin Garcia Jr.
THE nationwide hysteria over the Dengvaxia vaccine has already engulfed two key major cities in the country with outbreak of measles. Totally unexpected.
On January 22, at least 222 residents of Davao City, were already reported to be suffering from measles, a highly contagious infection. To contain an outbreak never seen in decades, the city government decided to declare a measles outbreak in order to strengthen its efforts to vaccinate children amid a growing reluctance brought by the Dengvaxia scare.
It was an extraneous and needless effort to reestablish trust and confidence the government’s immunization program were it not for the hysteria being fueled by PAO’s chief Persida Acosta and medic—legal Dr. Erwin Erfe.
Then last week, the city government of Zamboanga also declared a measles outbreak. As of February 9, there were already 101 suspected cases, or 1,323-percent increase in number of cases compared to the same period last year.
By the LGU’s account, the number already breached the threshold level. Curiously,
it noted that the highest proportion of cases has no history of immunization. All 42 barangays of the city have already been found affected with the viral infection.
It was enough for the city officials to be alarmed that the situation will still worsen because many parents are already resisting to have their children vaccinated.
Again, also due to the Dengvaxia dengue vaccine scare.
While Pangasinan has been spared from the mass immunization of Dengvaxia, parents here are also likely affected by the Dengvaxia scare as well. I do hope that the health officers in Dagupan, San Carlos, Urdaneta and Alaminos are closely monitoring the level of resistance to vaccination by parents, and possible sudden increase in measles cases.
What happened in Mindanao can surely happen here in Pangasinan.
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BRIGHT FUTURE IN SPORTS. The young players and athletes of Balon Dagupan Team are understandably euphoric over their successful mission at the 2018 Region 1 Athletic Association. But more and beyond what they are relishing today, there is something ahead for them, like a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. How so?
If the kids pursue their drive to excel in their chosen field of sports, they will have earned for themselves the chances and opportunities to qualify for college scholarships of their chosen field and choice of university and college.
Today, most if not all major colleges and universities in Metro Manila (even here in Pangasinan) look at sports as marketing tools to best project their standards and popularity among students. Studies have shown that loyalties to school colors are developed through sports.
In many big universities, sports scholarships already include hefty allowances. Some even offer free tutorship to be able to maintain their scholastic standing while staying away for practice sessions.
Now that the Balon Dagupan players and athletes feel and know how and what it is to be on top, they should be inspired to develop a high level of competitive spirit throughout. However, at their young age, the chances of their surrendering to their frustrations and experience easily particularly after suffering defeat after defeat in spite of their perceived invincibility will remain high.
It is at this point that parents, the coaches and heads of the Dagupan City Sports Commission are called on to be more conscious of the need to constantly keep their young wards’ feet on the ground, with the daily reminders that only hard work, dedication and commitment will keep them on top for a longer time. Note, not forever, just for a longer time.
But hey, give the kids some slack today, give them a lot more credit and time to relish their supremacy for at least two weeks!
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REPLICATING DAGUPAN’S FEAT. The secret of success of the Balon Dagupan Team at the R1AA is really no secret. In fact, any local government can match or even improve on Balon Dagupan’s journey.
As Balon Dagupan’s experience has shown, it needed the political will of Mayor Belen Fernandez to make the young athletes share her vision. The political will was backed by logistics that made it happen – funds for equipment, places for training, dietary meals, development of health and emotional wellness for the players and athletes. That’s just for starters.
Selection of athletes and players must be strictly based on merits, competency, skills and potential. Once nepotism and favoritism set in, the morale easily breaks. Once discipline is imposed selectively, the dream to win ends.
I’d like to believe that the touted Pangasinan Sports Academy of Guv Pogi, with the backing of the provincial government’s resources, will soon likewise open the opportunities for many poor students with full potential to be great athletes and players to realize their dreams.
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JUETENG FORMULA. Another not so-surprising revelation came out of the Senate hearing on the alleged abuses by PCSO management last week.
PCSO general manager Alex Balutan admitted that jueteng still continues to thrive using the Small Town Lottery (STL) as its front in spite of the reforms instituted to prevent jueteng lords from using it for their operations.
Again, there is only one way for jueteng to thrive, and that is for the police and the mayor to allow it and to protect it. So all that Mr. Balutan needs to do is to reveal where STL is being used as a front and you have the solution to the problem – Remove the provincial director, the town police chief and the town mayor!
I sure hope Mr. Balutan was not hinting that Pangasinan is still one of the jueteng hot spots today.
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KEEP IT AS ONE-WAY STREET. The traffic managers in Dagupan City may refuse to see an improved traffic situation that resulted from the temporary one-way street implemented on Rizal St. to give way to the construction being done for the elevation of the street.
The one-way street on Rizal St. (from A.B. Fernandez to Perez Boulevard) has provided the eye-opener to our earlier suggestion that it be made a one-way street to greatly improve the flow of traffic on A.B. Fernandez Avenue.
By keeping it the way it is today, the congestion that usually built up on A.B. Fernandez (from the Quintos Bridge to the Rizal St. intersection) when it was still a two-way street, will permanently be done. Without the street light still stopping access to Rizal St. from A. B. Fernandez Ave., vehicular traffic heading east and southeast will be completely unimpeded.
By keeping Rizal St. a one-way street, it frees the traffic light therein and can be relocated to the Tondaligan junction where congestion builds up regularly because of the 4-way street traffic.
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