Punchline

No SC discounts, please!

By Ermin Garcia Jr.

 

TWO weeks ago, our entrepreneur-friend Howard Cham who owns several restaurants in Dagupan City, posted a timely and urgent appeal to senior citizens.

“AN APPEAL TO OUR SENIORs & PWDs: Sir/Madam, we have been affected by this lockdown for several months now, most of us are already at our wits’ end of whether we will still continue to operate our business (and face bigger risks) or just suffer the losses and pack up the business as a whole. Many of our fellows have resumed operations since the lockdown has been eased, but i can assure you that less than 10% are making money, 90% are actually losing money, but they are maintaining normalcy in the hopes that business will pick up SOON. we are therefore pleading with you to leave your SC/PWD IDs at home for now. we are suffering already, and any query of extending a discount, is another cut to our already wounded state. it may be the LAW, but if you would like to see your favorite restaurant close sooner, then you may press your RIGHTS. thank you for your continued patronage. and we hope to see you all after this pandemic is over. from your STRUGGLING RESTAURANT OWNER”

Such is the dilemma of entrepreneurs who want to help restore normalcy in our community life.

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LEAVE SC CARDS AT HOME. Know that operating a restaurant is meant to give residents a choice for pleasurable, convenient dining. Like other businesses, there are risks but operating restaurants have highest risks because inventory is perishable, not like selling packaged items, hardware, office supplies, etc.

There’s no doubt that seniors’ value is in their right to be served their well-deserved discounts under normal conditions, but these are not normal times, not for anyone. The urgency for communities today is to help restore normalcy in economic and social activities like dining out, moving around leisurely, have choices for leisure activities, etc. 

However, given the protocol and the restrictions imposed by the government on dine-in eateries, specifically requirements to observe social and physical distancing, indeed, to continue operating a restaurant poses serious financial risks. So to surrender their limited revenues to SC discounts would be to force city/town restaurants to close shop – as they say” “without thinking”!

Without a doubt, entrepreneurs, like Howie, are taking more risks by attempting to help restore normalcy in our activities but they need help to do that. With the limited earning capacity owing to limited space but with no difference in operating costs, their chances of operating breakeven are practically nil.

So, if seniors like to see their favorite restaurants survive the onslaught of the pandemic, and the new normal, we should leave our SC discount cards at home… and show solidarity with the community to help restore normalcy under “new normal” conditions.

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WANTED: ACCOUNTABILITY IN DRUG WAR. Something does not seem add up in the accomplishment report of the Pangasinan Police Provincial Office given what PDEA has noted in the past weeks.

I can believe that shabu and marijuana supply have been constricted, thanks to the effective police operations in checkpoints across the province. What does not seem to connect the dots in PPPO’s report are the continued operation of drug dens, particularly in Dagupan City as evidenced by the successful raids in recent weeks.

There are obviously financiers and dealers that are still able to support drug den operations with the protection of barangay officials and local police, with the blessings of mayors.

Perhaps PPPO can’t be expected to totally operate vs. drug dealers because anti-illegal drugs campaign is mainly the business of PDEA, and the local police only serves as support unit.  But communities in Pangasinan would also like to know that the Pangasinan police is investigating barangay officials and local police where drug dens and trade have been found operating.

So far, no barangay official, mayor and police chief have been called out and made to account for their failure to contain the drug trading in their areas of jurisdiction.

How about it, Col. Maranan? Can you start making your police chiefs accountable for continued operation of drugs in their areas? Pangasinenses would love nothing than to see your iron hand feared by your subordinates in ensuring full support for the campaign that’s close the President’s heart.

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WHEN MOUSE AND CAT PLAY. Law-abiding residents continue to be alarmed by the continued disregard of the quarantine protocol by many – wearing facial masks, and keeping distances in public areas.

 They can see there is still no sense of community discipline, attributing it to inherent lack of discipline among us. But I don’t believe that Filipinos are inherently undisciplined because they are not. Proof of this is how we are when in other countries, where laws and rules are strictly enforced. Overseas Filipinos are among the most disciplined and compliant when living outside the country.

 What this tells us is – Filipinos are undisciplined because authorities are not serious about strict enforcement. We see that in Clark, John Hay, Subic areas where motorists are flagged down for mere infraction of the complete stop rule on intersections.

 What this tells us is – law enforcers are not keen on strict enforcement because their superiors don’t expect that from them as well knowing they give exemptions to VIPs. So, why bother?

 So we have a situation where the mouse plays because the cat plays too.

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UNTHINKING CITY HALL. Isn’t anyone at the Dagupan City Hall doing some thinking how city’s residents can be helped in restoring economic and social activities under “new normal? conditions?

For instance, it is bad enough that jeepney operators are only allowed 50% operating capacity yet the Lim administration doesn’t seem have the capability to think 100% how city residents can be served under these difficult conditions.  Instead it further limits the number of jeepneys that can operate, and routes they can ply.

Given already the mGCQ restrictions, it’s doubtful that many operators would be willing to risk not earning anything so restricting number of operators further makes it completely unproductive. The city government should, instead, allow as many jeepneys willing to operate under these difficult conditions… and city government focuses on monitoring strict compliance with protocol’s restrictions, i.e., wearing masks and correct distancing inside jeepneys.

The restriction of number of operators is obviously intended simply to make lives of accountable officials easy – tamad mag-monitor at mag-enforce ng protocol!

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