Random Thoughts

A sudden nightmare

By Leonardo Micua


AT a time when vaccination was finally being rolled out in various parts of the country after exactly one year of the coronavirus, a sudden surge of cases in some parts of the country, particularly in the National Capital Region, has made the situation virtually a

The COVID-19 cases actually started to gallop this month of March, especially in the national capital, as predicted by OCTA Research Group that saw it increasing up to 11,000 a day by the end of this month because of the emergence of more communicable variants originating from foreign shores.

In Southeast Asia, the Philippines is now next to Indonesia with the highest number of recorded coronavirus cases. And if reports are true (and I hope it isn’t)), we are being tagged as among the countries with the poorest response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Reports say that as a result of the renewed spiral of cases, the occupancy of big health facilities such as the Philippine General Hospital, the East Avenue Medical Center and St. Luke’s have already almost reached their full capacity.

Mind you, we read the same thing in Cagayan Valley over the Internet before our deadline.

Because of the continuous rising cases, some places in Metro Manila have been placed under granular lockdown by their mayors to slow down infections among the people.

What is worrisome is the threat of health workers to again declare a holiday as a sign of protest over the continued unwillingness of some people to observe safety and health protocols that put them and their families at greater risk for infection.

With our health facilities already full and our medical workers already suffering from COVID fatigue and planning on declaring a holiday, one may think we are already in a hopeless situation. But no, there is still hope. However, we cannot help but feel that our energy and resources are already drained.

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We can only conclude that the sudden upsurge of COVID-19 stemmed from our “bahala na” attitude out of complacency and utter disregard for others’ safety.

 Yet, we recall that we were among the first countries in the world to issue a travel ban against nationals from several countries, the first was travel from United Kingdom when it registered its first mutation of the virus. Then there was the South African variant followed by the Brazilian variant.

Then, a suspected Philippine variant was discovered when a 60-year-old Filipino traveler tested upon arrival in Japan just a week ago.

But since we lifted the travel ban and allowed travelers from any country to enter Philippines, some say spread of the variants of the virus is due to this.

However, believe in experts when they say that vaccination can get us past COVID-19 once we have established the desired herd immunity with 70 percent of our people already vaccinated.

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With what is happening in NCR, the time line given by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board for the reopening of inter-regional bus operations from Pangasinan to Bocaue, Bulacan could be set back.

Recall that LTFRB promised to bring back the big buses on the road before the Holy Week but given the gravity of the situation in NCR, the plan to reopen the inter-regional bus route will again be delayed.

Or that the bus operators may have a change of mind, knowing that only few passengers can be ferried to Metro Manila via Bocaue, Bulacan.  We heard is that some bus operators are really hesitant to field their units after LTFRB shortened the route to Bocaue, Bulacan, instead of straight to Quezon City as applied for.

In this case, passengers would have no choice but to opt to ride private vans offering a trip to Metro Manila at P1,800 per head but will no longer need to transfer to another ride in Bocaue as required of buses, especially if they have heavy luggage to carry.

Using the private vans would be more convenient and economical.

We cannot understand why LTFRB decided to cut the Pangasinan-Quezon City route without first consulting the operators to at least to hear their side of it.  After all, the bus operators applied for special permit for the Pangasinan to Quezon City route, not a shortened the route to Bocaue, Bulacan only.

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