By February 2, 2021Opinion, Punchline

The Pinoy’s personal dilemma over vaccines

By Ermin Garcia Jr.


THERE’S been a lot of loose talk and unanswered questions about the expected roll out of untested vaccines in the country.

It’s bad enough that there is a continued resistance of most to have the vaccine, but  to muster enough confidence about the brand of vaccine that will be made available in one’s province, town or city is another issue to resolve.

Reading reported experienced side effects caused by some brands in some countries can be very stressful to someone who’s already thoroughly stressed by the situation at home, fearful and paranoid of being infected by any member of the family. Which option is less risky? To take a chance with a vaccine? Or not to take the vaccine and continue the risk of being infected by someone in the household?

Should the person wait for the experience of others with a vaccine before he decides to take it and risk ending up paying for it because the allocation has been fully consumed? Or just do it with others so he doesn’t end up having to cough up at least a thousand pesos for a vaccine that is otherwise free?

Couldn’t any of the medical research teams worldwide find out if the usual malaria or chicken pox vaccines will do to protect us from COVID-19?  That would have the whole world celebrating!

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DESTAB FROM INSIDE DOTR.  I’m beginning to strongly suspect that someone in DOTr is out to destabilize the Duterte administration from the inside.  

The first such effort could perhaps be the rush to implement the RFID system in our expressways knowing fully well that the systems employed by the operators of NLEX- SCTEX and TPLEX were not fully equipped for the planned system. It was like it was meant to throw the government into a quagmire where endless complaints would badger the government.  And that’s exactly what happened but results were not as expected by the plotters.   

Until President Duterte started to make the Toll Regulatory Board accountable, hinting of dismissal of the whole board, including the chairman, the TRB was never heard to have pressured the operators of the expressways to shape up or ship out!  It took the local government of Valenzuela to force the hands of DOTr, TRB and MVP group to deliver on the solutions.  

Perhaps because the RFID didn’t quite catch fire under the seats of government, now comes another policy. This time involving registration of motor vehicles, using ‘new technology’ as the cover.  

LTO now wants to serve a new “technology” to help ensure that all vehicles on the road are roadworthy, never mind that 30% of cars, SUVs, trucks in the streets today are practically only 1-3 years old, off dealerships.  

The come-on lies in the introduction of a gadget that is likely a clone of a checklist of car manufacturers before it leaves a plant and delivered to a car dealer.   

The gadget will have a full list what the LTO wants checked – to determine if one’s vehicle deserves to be registered. Any negative impression of the gadget will compel car owner to correct and repair the section in question before one gets the green light to register.  

Here’s the catch. The vehicle owner must pay P1,800 for the privilege of having the gadget do the analysis. (Car dealers today charge P1,000-P1,500 for electronic/computerized analysis of the engine before any repair can be done).  Here are the items that vehicle owners must ensure are A-OK to earn the right to be registered:

  1. Measure amount of carbon dioxide being discharged by the engine during combustion.
  2. State of chassis, engine, handle bars, wiper/washer, window glass, headlights, signal lights) front and rear, backup, clearance, number plate illumination, hazard lights, reflectors, interior lights, to[ lights, seat belts, horn, doors/hinges, floor board, side mirror, rear view mirror, clutch and brake systems, driver/passengers seats, steering, tires/wheels, wheel bolts/nuts, fuel tank caps/nuts, panel gauges, EWD, color, diesel fuel system, autometer reading; radiator, engine bracket mounting engine oil leakage, steering boll joints, steering leakages/gear box mounting, steering idler sector, seats, etc. 

Any negative impression on any of the item must be corrected, or else…! 

What has not been reported so far are the lists of accredited car shops that will handle the corrections.  (Accreditation is a foolproof policy that will guarantee protection racket for the policy makers, i.e., accredited smoke emission test centers, accredited insurance companies, accredited medical check-up centers, accredited drug test centers).  

The good news LTO says is, all these accredited centers will no longer be needed. All that one needs to do is to pay for a ‘one-stop-shop’ fee of P4,500 to cover all these requirements! In other words: Pay to a ‘one-stop-racket’ that eliminates the pesky middlemen. 

Why the bright boys at LTO think that this racket will fly with little or no resistance is beyond me! Could it be because Mr. Duterte continues to enjoy high approval rating, and whatever he says will meet little or no resistance? Perhaps so except for two factors:  

  1. Duterte is a populist leader. He will not condone anything that will hurt his complaining constituents.
  2. The timing is off. Forcing people to pay government for a service that was not asked for especially when the economy is flat and out, is a guarantee for internal combustion. 

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WANTED: FAMILY REUNIONS. Speaking of transportation, public transport in Southern Luzon has been restored with some conditions in place.

But to this day, nothing is said about when and how public transport will be restored to enable Pangasinenses to travel from their hometown to Metro Manila or to further north, to Laoag and Vigan, and vice versa.

Many families with kids and relatives trapped in other provinces, unless they own cars, jeeps of their own, have not had the opportunity to visit teach other, after being separated for too long, absent even during special occasions like birthdays and Christmas.

It is understandable for the provincial government to stop Authorized Persons Outside Residents or Local Stranded Individuals from liberally entering the province, it is to prevent asymptomatic carriers from Metro Manila to spread their infection here.

But surely, the provincial government can still do something for families that are

already suffering emotionally from the long, physical separation.  The provincial government can consider offering provincial buses for weekly round trips from Lingayen, Dagupan City, Urdaneta City, San Carlos City and Alaminos City to Quezon City, on a first registration-first served basis, with 2-days stay before their return trip.

Then all returning passengers must agree to a 5-day isolation in their barangays as agreed upon with their LGUs.

To qualify for this free transport, the passengers must be processed: 1. Show proof of a 1st degree relative residing in Metro Manila.  2. Certification of non-ownership of vehicle. 3. Present medical certificates attesting to negative results of RT-PCR test. 4. Police clearance for travel. And each trip will be verified by border checkpoints in QC.

Trips organized by the provincial government will give host Q.C. some confidence to receive travelers from Pangasinan, and hometowns will also be freed of anxiety over status of returning commuters.

Such trips can be labeled as “Alay ng Pangasinan para Family Reunion”

Just a thought… for and on behalf of the already desperate, emotionally stressed and distressed families.

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