Editorial February 14, 2021
Public accountability is key
THE information shared by Dr. Anna de Guzman, provincial heath officer, during the last session of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan has underscored anew the need to make both the barangay kapitan and the mayor directly accountable in efforts to check the COVID-19 contagion in the province.
After almost a year since the contagion was declared in March last year, it has been determined by collated data that total lockdown of a province, town or city only resulted in hurting local economy and did little to help prevent the spread of the virus.
The subsequent adoption of zonal containment or lockdown that focuses on the existence or discovery of an active case in a neighborhood or sitio is, indeed, enough basis to impose strict quarantine rules (enhance community quarantine) in a limited area.
However, her observation that in some cases even a limited ECQ cannot work because of leadership issues in the barangays needs to be addressed squarely. Translation: A barangay kapitan that cannot impose the protocol strictly is a liability to the community.
But such a situation cannot happen if the principle of accountability is applied by the provincial government on the mayors, who in turn make all barangay kapitan accountable for the strict enforcement of the health and safety protocols in their villages.
For the principle of accountability to work, a set of sanctions must be in place. Temporary suspension is logical in this situation. The frame of reference is easy: Strict enforcement of the protocols. While the town/barangay executive cannot be sanctioned for a registered COVID-19 case, they, however, can and should be held accountable for the spread of the virus from the verified source in the community.
VACCINE or virus? That’s the question of the moment. With the vaccine against the COVID-19 just around the corner, there is renewed talk, if not debate, about whether or not we would avail of the vaccine. The first survey on the vaccination issue showed that 47 percent refused to be inoculated. Their reason? Safety. Doubts. They are not fully convinced of any vaccine’s efficacy. Scared of side effects, too. Nothing is further from the truth: The vaccine won’t completely make us free of the killer virus. But it will help protect us from contracting it. Not actually 100 percent, yes, but good enough. Better to have a shield than none. Already, some 2.2 million have died worldwide. So, to help drive away anxiety and efficacy concerns, the proper mindset should be: I need protection. The vaccine provides that.
You have the vaccine, you have defense against the virus. Better than nothing at all.
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