General Admission

Medical vs constitutional? Compromise, be flexible

By Al S. Mendoza

 

AS I write this, a clamor to exempt a senior sector from a new quarantine rule was up in the air.

Already, seniors (60+) and non-seniors alike are enjoined to stay at home while the ECQ (enhanced community quarantine) in Luzon is in place.

At press time, an MCQ (modified community quarantine) to replace the ECQ was being seriously considered from May 1 to May 15.

But what’s holding it?

The MCQ disallows 20-and-below to leave home but not the 21-59 sector.

It also orders the 60-and-above to stay at home for the next two weeks ending May 15.

The issue on the senior segment’s planned restricted movement has spawned two schools of thought.

The first is medical, the second constitutional.

The government cites medical data that the pandemic virus easily strikes the 60+ sector.

Meaning, seniors 60 years old and above are more Covid-19 prone than the 21-59 year-old segment.

With the new rule, the government is merely protecting our seniors from virus infection once they leave home for the office, a cup of coffee at the mall or a stroll in the park.

It is a very noble gesture, indeed.  A screaming proof once more that government cares for its elderly.

But a big chunk of our 60+ seniors is up in arms, citing a Constitutional right to free movement.

While it may hold water, the radical position absolutely ignores the health issue behind the proposed rule.

Our 60+ seniors argue that their right to free movement is being curtailed by the new rule and therefore, it is unconstitutional.

Their position, of course, totally brushes aside their safety, medical-wise.

By all means, the government must stop them from putting the law unto their hands.

The rift has thrown the government in a quandary?

If the government relents and withdraws its stand, it abandons its sworn duty to protect its citizens, young or old, at all times.

But I’m sure it will not come to that.

Every problem has a solution or it is not a problem at all.

The government is always there to resolve disputes that will redound to the benefit of the people.

What is, therefore, needed is a compromise: Modify the rule as to give the 60+ seniors some leeway.

After all, some of our government officials are 60+ themselves and yet, they continue to work.

Cabinet members like Transportation’s Art Tugade (74 years old), Energy’s Al Cusi (70) and executive secretary Bong Medialdea (68) are seniors themselves like President Duterte (75).

The law must apply to all, right?

And so, must the government then allow our 60+ folk to roam freely amid the virus scare?

Hey, that’s a no-no.

Maybe, crafting a limited movement scheme for our elderly might do the trick?

Nothing is impossible if we are willing to help.

The government just needs to be flexible—as it always does.

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