Random Thoughts

Clearly, a discrimination vs. Pinoys

By Leonardo Micua


FOR the record, as of this writing, no anti-COVID-19 vaccine of any brand has arrived in the country—I mean legally—despite assurances made to us earlier by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Infectious Diseases or IATF that the jabs would be coming by the end of February, the earliest.

In all of Southeast Asia, the Philippines as well as Timor Leste are the only countries that still do not have any vaccine to fight off the coronavirus disease. Is it possible that that we are not in the priority list of vaccine manufacturers?

The newest nation on the globe, Timor Leste, has only more than a hundred COVID-19 cases with no death whatsoever. In contrast, the Philippines has registered more than half a million cases, including more than 12,000 deaths.

But do we deserve such unkind treatment from vaccine manufacturers? No! We are just as deserving as other countries of the world since we are paying for these vaccines anyway.

Consider the recent rant of President Duterte – the first vaccines to roll out from the labs were consigned to just 10 rich and influential countries, clearly discriminating against the poorer ones.

This could make your blood boil again because it appears that manufacturers of these vaccines are not willing to share their products to us unless they see the money dangled before their very eyes first.

It is with deep regret, however, that in desperation, the Department of Labor and Employment has asked both United Kingdom and Germany to share with us their AstraZeneca vaccine in exchange for our nurses to take care of their sick in their heath institutions.

Poor Filipinos. They don’t know that they are at the end of the line in the long queue for the anti-COVID-19 vaccine.

It is time that the World Health Organization, aside from providing us the initial COVAX vaccine, asks all vaccine manufacturers to make their products accessible to all countries whether rich or poor.

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It would be preposterous if not unbelievable if Dagupan gets a passing grade in the Road Clearing Operation program of the DILG whose evaluation team just held an exit conference with Mayor Brian Lim after going around the city.

Just a few hours after the team arrived, the baratillo stalls, that have long been eye sores on the sidewalk of A.B. Fernandez Avenue fronting CSI Market Square, were just moved a few feet back from the walk way to show just a semblance of  compliance to the DILG memorandum ordering the clearing of all sidewalks. Is it just for a show?

Some of these stalls and the others came from Jovellanos Street (sandwiched between the city hall and the newly renovated Magic Supermart owned by the mayor’s family. Still, others were relocated from Galvan Street, one stretch of which is still undergoing rehab.

Obviously, Lim decongested Jovellanos Street in a bid to make it easier for shoppers to access his Magic Super Mart and moved the vendors in the sidewalk of A.B. Fernandez Avenue in front of Magic’s chief competitor, CSI Market Square, effectively hiding the latter to passing motorists.

Many say it is clearly an obvious display of abuse of power and vindictiveness of the executive – putting down a business competitor.

This is well and beyond the discrimination felt in the distribution of ayuda to jeepney and tricycle drivers and market vendors that supported former Mayor Belen Fernandez in the last election.

Then, what about the parking fees reportedly being collected by certain traffic enforcers from motorists? As Bogs Toribio asked in his public affairs program on Bombo Radyo Dagupan last Thursday: “Where’s that collection going?

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In Pangasinan—despite the pandemic—Governor Pogi Espino continues to bring the services of the provincial government to the doorsteps of people of the province through his Abig Pangasinan Karaban.

Espino bundled all the services of the provincial government into one big program so that anyone wanting to go to the capitol to have his or her concern acted upon, can get it done through Abig Pangasinan.

With all departments behind him in one outing, problems such as health, livelihood, cleanliness and sanitation, jobs (including family disputes) can be easily addressed fast and solved on the spot.

Through his Abig Pangasinan program, the governor is doing all to mitigate the hardships posed by COVID-19 on the people, particularly those who lost their jobs and livelihood, with the message that the provincial government has their back covered.

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