Community transmission more alarming

By Ermin Garcia Jr.


THE suspicion that we are beginning to see indications of community transmission of COVID-19 should alarm everyone.

It was easier then to foretell who could be the virus transmitter: all persons entering Pangasinan, with travel story to and from Metro Manila, were prime suspects simply because Metro Manila was and still is the epicenter of the widespread infection.

What many still don’t realize is that the feared community transmission means the virus is already embedded in our neighborhood, in our environment. The transmitter could be the asymptomatic person with us, around us. And the only way to discover that an asymptomatic is the carrier is to have the person tested not once, but twice over a 7-day gap.

The only possible response and protection lies in our individual response to the situation, knowing that the virus is within 2-meter radius around us.  To help us, the government can only make detection available via tests but the preventive measure lies solely with the individual.

Hence, know that the new normal places the burden on us as individuals for protection against infection. Government can’t be blamed if we don’t wear facemask and shield, not conscious of the need to keep a distance from friends, relatives outside our immediate family’s circle.  Foremost, never find yourself in a crowd.

So unless and until a protocol for the cure is tested and proven or a vaccine is available and accessible, this will be the new normal.

How to preserve and continue our old normal of expressing human affection that endears us to others will be a test of one’s ability to learn to be more expressive in words and actions from a distance.

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‘BEST PRACTICES’ DAGUPENOS DON’T KNOW ABOUT.  On July 28, Tuesday, it’d be interesting to hear what Mayor Brian Lim and five other LGU chief executives will be sharing in the scheduled webinar, a virtual platform on the discussion on “LGU Best Practices in COVID-19 Crisis Management”.  It’s a project of the Center for Local and Regional Governance in partnership with the League of Vice Governors of the Philippines. 

Lim will be asked to share and compare his ‘best practices’ with City Mayors Oscar Moreno of Cagayan de Oro and Richard Gomez of Ormoc.

Indeed, what can Mayor Brian share in good practices when he’s practically only virtually present in the city, if at all. He’s not been seen nor reported by his information office making the rounds of barangays to assess residents’ problems and needs with quarantine in place.  

Perusing the ‘Brian Lim Ang Mayor Ko’ Facebook account of the city information office, the last official activity that made Mayor Brian’s presence in the city was seeing him sitting around a table attending a meeting of the City Health Board on July 15. It could only be his only recent official activity relevant to the COVID-19 situation in the city.  What was discussed? “The city’s health situation was extensively discussed,” noted the PIO. No details of best practices in the city. Tsk tsk.

Still, the only other recent official meeting, still not relevant to COVID-19, was his July 13 meeting with the Flood Mitigation Commission. Nothing about COVID.

In both meetings (City Health Board and FMC), nothing substantial about their agenda was reported by the city hall. I guess, seeing him sitting, standing holding a microphone in his office is the new standard of public service in Dagupan.  

Other than that, city hall posted photos showing him welcoming the new Jail Warden and turning over 4 motorcycles to the police station. Nothing about COVID there.

The most recent public official event was officiating four weddings inside his office! Surely, those can’t be regarded as one of the best practices in COVID-19 management.

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FOR PAGE 1 NEXT WEEK. The most credible mayor who should have been invited to the webinar, one who’s clearly employing innovative best practices vs. COVID, is Lingayen Mayor Leopoldo Bataoil.

But I suspect that the webinar organizers are Brian’s fellow Jaycees, so he was given the opportunity to have a free ride, and to be introduced as the former World JC president, hopefully not as the action man of Dagupan City.  That would be fake news.

So, besides reciting his expected usual platitudes about ‘Shared Responsibility’, I do seriously wonder what he’d be contributing to the webinar.

Could there be anything that the city hall information office knows but is not telling Dagupeños about the mayor’s activities on COVID with the most vulnerable sectors: senior citizens, children, jeepney drivers and operators, women, inmates, vendors, etc.? Mayroon ba, Ging?

I do know that Mayors Moreno and Gomez have been very active in their efforts to keep their cities safe.  So, if the two will be made to speak before him, the city’s ‘Mayor Ko’ will likely be heard saying: “The two already said everything I wanted to say, so I don’t have to waste everybody’s time.”

I hope PIO will issue a PR on what he claimed as ‘best practices’. I’ll have that on Page 1 in next week’s issue.

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MAYOR BRIAN’S PROMISE IN 2022. Here’s a latest update from the non-performing Dagupan city’s Flood Mitigation Commission: After 12 months, the commission reports to Mayor Brian on July 13:

“…the FMC headed by Engr. Joseph Lo, identified the need to coordinate with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) on the department’s ongoing district projects on sheet piling near Nazareth Hospital and Pangasinan Merchant Marine Academy.”

That’s it??  “…need to coordinate??” That’s all after collecting allowances for past 12 months?

It added: “The FMC also proposed the recovery of Mariposa creek and clearing of other creeks and water ways in sync to the building of pumping stations starting in easily flooded areas, including streets of Burgos, Zamora and Galvan.” No details, no timetable. Less talk, less mistake?

Mayor Brian and his commission have less than 24 months to make good on the mayor’s touted campaign promise. If it fails, Mayor Brian, who will surely run for reelection, will likely pledge in 2022: “Ito, totoo na… I promise to end flooding in 2024, trial lang itong 2019-2022… promise talaga!”

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