Random Thoughts

By December 7, 2020Opinion, Random Thoughts

Conflict in policies

By Leonardo Micua


THE recommendation of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III for LGUs to still maintain the ban on minors in shopping malls, where they run the risk of infection from COVID-19 is laudible.

Children, according to Secretary Duque, are not immune to COVID-10 and they could easily pass the virus they acquired from malls by touching, hugging, kissing their parents and other family members.

No less than DILG Secretary Eduardo Año walked away from his previous statement of optimism that pretty soon children will be accompanied by their parents once allowed to enter shopping malls, like they used to during the pre-COVID-19 era.

Last week all Metro Manila mayors decided to still ban minors from shopping malls, adopting the recommendation of Secretary Duque. This time, we can say that science prevailed over unproven theories preventing the spread of COVID-19.

But  a move of the Department of Education to allow face-to-face instruction at least once a week for learners in the lowest level, contradicts the position of DOH that children should stay at home and not be wandering inside malls.

Specifically, DepEd has proposed an interface distance learning from kindergarten to Grade III that will allow teachers to engage learners in face-to-face inside classrooms at least once a week.

Recall that just last week, Education Secretary Leonor Briones made the proposal but the reason she advanced was not unacceptable.

She said face-to-face engagement between teachers and learners although on a limited scale could relieve pressures on trees, which are the sources of papers that are being used nowadays in making learning modules.

However, that was not the reason I and many others expected for her face-to-face instruction proposal. Though her reason is in support of conservation of trees and natural resources in sync with the mandate of the DENR, it could only be a secondary reason.

The main reason we had hoped to hear for that face-to-face interaction is to close the gap between distance learning online or the modular system and the traditional method to help learners.

Her suggestion does not conform with the guidelines of the DOH that specifically requires children from 17 years and below to continue to stay at home until the COVID-19 vaccine has reached our shores.

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Motorists and residents cannot but wonder why the traffic lights along A.B. Fernandez Avenue east junction and Arellano Street, in front of the University of Pangasinan, have not been restored.

To be exact, it has been more than three weeks since traffic management in that stretch became awry, exposing both motorists and pedestrians to risks and dangers in crossing A.B. Fernandez Avenue, M.H. del Pilar and Arellano streets.

Are the operations of the traffic lights in the city no longer considered important by the city hall, that it sees no urgency to repair and restore these? Or does the city hall simply does not have the funds to bankroll the repair of these instruments and is awaiting next year’s budget to pass so it can source the fund for the repair of the traffic lights?

Does the Lim administration believe that Christmas lights installed on the Quintos and Perez bridges that cost a staggering P3.8 million or more in taxpayers’ money more important than restoring the traffic lights (and street lights)?

Remember that all the traffic lights in the streets were funded and installed by the past city administration of then Mayor Belen Fernandez to restore order in the city street.

 And yet not even one traffic light was installed by the Lim administration in any major intersection in the city since it assumed power over the public funds (more than one billion pesos) that then Mayor Belen left to the city government.

Traffic lights save lives but Christmas lights, only dazzle the eyes.

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The curfew hours in Pangasinan have been reset from 8:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. from the previous 8:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan. In Dagupan, it is from 12:00 midnight to 4:00 a.m.

Note that although Pangasinan has only 80 active COVID-19 patients and Dagupan City has 51 as of December 3 based on statistics released by Dr. Anna de Guzman, provincial health officer, the province is still not ready to relax its curfew regulations since COVID-19 is still very much around.

Ilocos Norte, we were informed, is becoming the new COVID-19 epicenter in Region 1. Laoag City, because of its 40 active cases since last week, prompted Governor Matthew Manotoc to place the city under Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine.

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