Random Thoughts

“Are we winning the war?”

By Leonardo Micua


DURING the last virtual session of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, Fourth District Board Member Agerico Jeremy Rosario did not get a straight answer from provincial IATF senior member Col. Rhodyn Luchinvar Oro, when he asked: “Are we winning the war against COVID-19?”

Lamenting that one of their own, Liga ng mga Barangay Provincial Federation President Joselito Peralta recently succumbed to COVID-19, Rosario observed that the number of people infected by the coronavirus disease is still high. He called on all Pangasinenses not to let their guard down even for a moment as the virus is still around.

In answer to the question of Rosario, Col. Oro merely pointed out that during the first few months of the pandemic, the province was doing good, perhaps referring to the very few cases and the very high recovery rate being registered in all 47 towns and cities as compared to the present rate.

He added that the fight against the vicious COVID-19 must not be left to the provincial government alone to do the job but the citizens, barangays, and the municipalities and cities need to share in the responsibility in containing the unseen virus.

He also mentioned the strategic location of the province as the gateway to Ilocos Region, the Cordilleras as well as Region 2, The fact that it has 19 entry and exit points from all directions, only shows how extra difficult it has been to prevent carriers of the virus from entering our borders.

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Sitio Sabangan in Bonuan Gueset, Dagupan City is reportedly placed on lockdown through the initiative of Barangay Captain Manuel Bumanglag. This is because some families were already reportedly infected with COVID-19. Worse, two kagawads of the village were among those reportedly found positive for the coronavirus disease and evacuated to the isolation facility of the city government at the city engineering compound in Poblacion Oeste. 

I heard that the daughter of a kagawad caught the virus after visiting her father at the city engineering isolation facility. She had to be placed in isolation too. This only confirms that the coronavirus disease continues to rampage in the city and that community transmission is quite evident.

As of October 6, Bonuan Gueset, the largest barangay in Dagupan and also in Region 1, led all other barangays of the city with 32 cases, followed by Pantal, 17; Caranglaan, 11; Lucao and Malued, six each; and Mangin and Bolosan, five each.  

As of that date, only five of the 31 barangays of Dagupan, maintained a clean slate – zero cases.  

We did not read any post from the PIO if the mayor issued an executive order ordering zonal containment in affected areas like the mayors in Calasiao, Mangaldan and Binmaley and in Sta. Barbara and Lingayen did when they saw COVID-19 cases were surging in their areas. This, I think, is provided in the guidelines issued by the national IATF. 

There were reports, too, that some employees working at city hall, the nerve center of activity in Dagupan, were diagnosed as positive for COVID-19 and had to be isolated fast. So, it could mean that Mayor Brian Lim may have taken refuge somewhere to shield himself from the virus (if he is not caught virus yet).

Thus, there is a possibility that he may already be issuing orders at city hall by remote control from his own home. But what is the mayor doing in the face of the continuing spread of COVID-19 in his beloved city? We’ve not heard any initiative from his end.

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The proposal of Second District Board Member Von Mark Mendoza to business establishments to junk their self-imposed regulation, that anyone entering their premises should write their names, addresses and contact numbers in a log book using a common pen as a possible contact-tracing mechanism, has some sense.

Using a common ball pen by all customers for registering is a high risk for the transmission of the coronavirus.

He suggested that business establishments should just instead require their patrons to write their names, addresses and contact number on a small piece of paper with their own pens and drop these in a box at the entrance where the guard taking the temperature of every entrant is posted.

The veteran lawmaker from Lingayen said if this regulation is not acceptable, the national IATF must promulgate rules that are logical and sensible.

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