Editorial September 13, 2020

Dagupan’s ill-advised policies

IF the Dagupan City government officials do not begin to plan and coordinate its rules with all its agencies, it will soon suffer the fate of the cities of Cebu and Bacolod, whose COVID cases spiked overnight.

The decision to further shorten the curfew hour in the city from 11 p.m.- 4 a.m.  without the safeguards in place is an open invitation for residents and visitors to ignore and disregard the health protocols established by the national IATF.

The new curfew hour is sending the wrong signal, that the city is back to the old normal when it isn’t. Worse, the city is just beginning to see more local community transmission of the virus.  One wonders whether the local IATF, or specifically the city health office, police, market supervisor, barangay chairmen were consulted about this surprise move.  It is they who are expected to closely monitor and strictly enforce the health protocols.

If the reason behind it is to ramp up efforts to restart the economy, then the city government is foolishly pushing the wrong buttons. For instance, the number coding of vehicles in the city is restricting entry of more people to the city. It should be lifted, encourage more customers and establishments to do business and prepare for crowds by deploying health protocol marshals in malls and in commercial districts.

Shortening the curfew will only encourage people to gather in numbers, completely unregulated at night. It’s a perfect formula for asymptomatic persons to hasten the spread of their infection.

Dagupan residents are facing serious risks ahead.  Be warned, thanks to the unthinking city officials.


Pemberton pardon

THE recent absolute pardon granted to Joseph Scott Pemberton was perfectly legal. It is because in handing out that decision, President Duterte merely obeyed what the Constitution expressly says: As Chief Executive, he can unconditionally set a convicted person free.  Pemberton, an American marine corporal who was found guilty of homicide in the gruesome killing of transgender Jennifer Laude several years back, was freed by an Olongapo judge on the strength of GCTA (Good Conduct Time Allowance).  He has served the minimum years of his sentence of from 6-to-10 years at his Camp Aguinaldo cell.  Amid criticisms of Pemberton’s court-ordered release—mainly coming from the victim’s supporters—Mr. Durterte stepped in to finally put total closure to the matter.  Protests met the President’s verdict but then, it’s all water under the bridge now so to speak.  Time to move on.

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