Missing: The COVID-19 health agenda

THE current data on the COVID-19 pandemic in Pangasinan is not at all alarming, not yet.

However, given the nature of the coronavirus, the level of infection can still be murderous if it is not given the 24/7 attention it deserves. The sudden surge of the virus infection in China, for instance, was reportedly caused largely by laxity in enforcement of health protocols.

While the rate of infection of new variants in Pangasinan is at a minimal level, this data cannot be fully accepted as gospel truth precisely because there are indications that some infection cases are already not being reported because of public impression that all is clear, and that the symptoms are negligible. It was what hit China.

If there is no sign of any concern from the provincial government about dangers of a possible surge, laxity and complacency of the public can expectedly increase.

At the very least, the Guico administration must launch an information drive on the need for residents to be fully vaccinated and have their booster shots to help ensure continued high level of immunity in their communities. A warning of a possible surge to mayors and barangay chiefs of towns and cities must be made if they do not continue to consciously monitor and remind their communities on the need for adherence to the minimum health standards. Public markets and malls must be closely monitored for lapses in proper wearing of masks.

The province cannot afford to be distracted by a sudden 10% uptick with the momentum it has already gained towards a slow but sure economic recovery.

Let’s not forget that COVID-19 is here to stay.

 Billions for plates

AMID cries that the government is in dire need of cash due to debts amounting to almost P11.7 trillion primarily to address pandemic issues, here comes officer in charge Romeo Vera Cruz  of the Land Transportation Office (LTO) asking for P6.8 billion to arrest the backlog of license plates hounding the country for almost a decade now.  “We have no problem producing the plates,” boasted Vera Cruz, saying the LTO has robots and the manual embossing machines to address the issue.  “But only Congress can provide us with the funding.”  He did not say how huge the backlog was, although outgoing LTO chief Edgar Galvante said the agency needs “11 million” motorcycle license plates when he stepped down on June 30.  He did not say how many plates are needed for other vehicles.  Many government priorities are being unrelentingly tossed in the back burner since time immemorial—to the detriment of our poor folk.  A pity, indeed.

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