Editorial July 26, 2020

A mission for barangay brass, volunteers

THE battle mode of the provincial government vs. COVID-19 is still mainly reactive, completely dependent on results of the Expanded Targeting Testing and contact-tracing.

If efforts to make more towns and cities COVID-free, a pro-active approach must be set in place in tandem with the testing, completely under the control of officials and volunteers tasked to act. What is within people’s control at the lowest level is how far the strict enforcement of the health protocols established by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) can be done.

Today, we are seeing more residents either not wearing face masks or loosely wearing them, friends and neighbors violating the social and physical distancing wherever they are, still some dare violate the curfew hours for usual night caps, and violation of home quarantine of newly arrived stranded residents and OFWs are poorly monitored.

Between these violations, there is no doubt community transmission will be on the rise. Yet these violations can be controlled and contained by persons tasked specifically to see the strict enforcement of the protocols.

Such a mission is especially tailored for barangay officials and volunteers, they who are taught not only the full provisions of the rules promulgated by the IATF but trained to handle situations peculiar to neighborhoods and commercial areas.

But as in all enforcement and implementation of rules, accountability of the barangay officials must be established, backed by adequate logistical support from the provincial and municipal/city governments. The clear, single objective? To make and keep the barangay free of COVID-19.


Sotto’s right

FOR the utter lack of concrete information on the alleged deaths of high-profile prisoners like convicted kidnaper Jaybee Sebastian, no less than Senate President Vicente Sotto III wants an immediate investigation because of “too many unanswered questions.”  Sebastian and eight drug-dealer inmates had reportedly died of COVID-19. That’s all Gerald Bantag, the Bureau of Corrections (Bucor) chief, said, refusing to reveal more details because of “the Data Privacy Act.”  Amid rumors the prisoners’ deaths were faked—no autopsies and no pictures of their bodies were presented before they were cremated—Senators Franklin Drilon and Richard Gordon wanted Bantag fired. “Fire him (Bantag) as he appears oblivious of the issue of public interest,” said Drilon.  Said Gordon: “Something is not right…something is being hidden.  That does not merit Bantag’s continued stay in the BuCor.”  Sotto’s right: A Senate probe is in order.

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