COVID no longer means certain death

By June 15, 2021Punchline

By Ermin Garcia Jr.


EVERY week, we get a mouthful of data and statistics on the status of contagion of COVID-19 in the province.

While there is reason for the health authorities in Pangasinan, particularly by the Provincial Health Office, to believe that the situation is well under control, surely the situation can still be better than being “under control” simply because the protocol treatment is effective.

That’s the good news! PHO has proven that being infected doesn’t mean “certain death”! But this is part of the process which is reactive, not proactive.

By being proactive, we expect our health authorities in towns and cities to say “situation completely controlled”! But we obviously have not come close to this situation, with more new cases being confirmed than the number of patients that recover every week.

Something is not evidently not working today. And I surmise that would be in contact-tracing – the preventive phase.

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FAULTY CONTACT-TRACING.  Note how the PHO continues to log more confirmed cases daily.  This can only mean that the contact-tracing capabilities in towns and cities remain ineffective and are wanting in results.

 I would assume that the city governments have designated focal persons on contact tracing. But I wonder if they are being made accountable for their failure. It’d help if the Provincial Health Office’s focal person for contact-tracing collaborates with focal persons of the cities and other towns weekly for regular exchanges on good and failed efforts and practices.

 Then a contact-tracing that doesn’t employ technology cannot be expected to produce the desired outputs. Technology has to be used. But which one is effective? This can be established by comparing notes among them. In fact, the country’s contract-tracing czar is in Baguio, Mayor Benjie Magalong, no more than 2 hours away.  A two-day crash course on the methodology and process employed should yield immediate results.

 Next mission after effective treatment protocol: Make uniform contact-tracing protocol effective!

 One thing is certain, what is being done today in contact-tracing is not going to flatten the curve permanently.

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WHO’S PREPARING FOR FLOODS? The rainy season is just around the corner and city residents must brace themselves for worse flooding levels in Dagupan City this year.

And as one might have expected, the ballyhooed Anti-Flood Commission created by Mayor Brian Lim in his first month in office 2019 ostensibly to back his charges of mismanagement of the flooding in the city by his predecessor, has not been heard from since the last flooding. What assurance can the commission give in the weeks ahead that the expected flooding will be contained this time?

One can only wonder how far worse will flooding be in the city with no visible activities of dredging of rivers and the continued proliferation of illegal fish pens.

Given the seeming inutility of the commission, barangays, including those that normally don’t suffer from flooding, would be well-advised to buy their own small motorized boats for rescue operations. And with guidance from the city’s Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office, they should learn to prepare and clean evacuation sites, stock on water and ready-to-consume food, organize on-site kitchen teams, tents and blankets, etc.

The worst nightmare is upon those who fail to plan for the worsening climate change. Community leaders that don’t give importance to planning have only themselves to blame when their constituents suffer during expected natural disaster, mainly flooding.

Meanwhile, let’s remember the names of the flood commission introduced in 2019 who pledged to prevent flooding in the city: Engr. Joseph Lo, who represents the business sector and the vice chairman of the commission; Engr. Liberato Afficial and Engr. Arnold Palmero as representatives of the Philippine Institute of Civil Engineers; architects Maximo Tan and Zosimo Ganaden of United Architects of the Philippines; Engr. Nancy Nazareno of the City Engineering Office; Zoning Officer James Louell Fernandez and Project Development Officer Jose Jesus Torio, both of the City Planning and Development Office; City Legal Officer Terence Marata; and lawyer Michael Camilo Datario, consultant at the City Legal Office.

If you chance upon any of them on the street or restaurant, ask them what they have done.

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MOVING FORWARD. The arrival and operation of BTSI’s modern jeepneys in Dagupan City is ominous for the owners of the more than 50-years old jeepneys, they who refuse to change and cope with demands of modern living.

 The owners cannot forever invoke their lack of capital to move forward with the demands of safe, convenient and healthy, comfortable travel for commuters. The longer they wait and stay with status quo, the more difficult it will be for them to recover their investments for a unit that would cost them more in years ahead.   

 In truth and in fact, what’s keeping most to resist the modern jeepneys is the cultural negative reaction to change – “Pwede pa yan!”. Not anymore.

 The only way they can salvage their precious units is to convert their passenger units into a functional private family vehicle, or into small cargo units to move food and other items, or into mobile food pantries! Creativity for innovation can lead to riches!

 Mayor Brian Lim can tap creative minds that can design options for conversion models. Building and developing a prototype could very well be his legacy!

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DAGUPAN AS DRUG CITY. With reports of successful buy-bust operations by the PDEA and NBI operatives in Dagupan City, it can only mean the illegal drug trade is doing well, and the Dagupan City Police has not done enough to keep the street pushers out of business.

While it is the policy of national government to leave it to PDEA, as lead agency, to lead the campaign, the city police have more resources to contain the drug trade with impact.

For city residents, what a reassuring situation is to be told that it was the city police operatives that busted the drug pushers’ den, not the PDEA, not the NBI!  Why so?

If our resident cops are not seen being aggressive and active in the campaign vs illegal drug, then it could only mean the drug trafficking in the city will remain.  PDEA with its limited resources can’t possibly completely shut out the drug dealers!

Families are praying for a more effective protection from the drug syndicates from P/Lt. Col. Benjie Tremor, a trusted operative of President Duterte in the war vs drugs. He, more than anyone else, can wipe out the drug syndicates if he decides to train his guns on them.

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THE VACCINE IS LIKE A HOUSE.  A friendly reminder to those who already got their first dose of vaccine:

 The first dose does not work like magic.  It does not provide 100% protection. Like building a house, the first dose only lays the foundation; the second dose will be the roof. For full effective protection, construct the walls by strengthening your immune system with natural means.   

 The worst thing that you can do after getting your first dose is to stop wearing your

masks, to resume your strenuous activities, to sleep late, drink heartily. Doing these will make your body more vulnerable to Covid infection. That’s a promise.

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CITY LOST ANOTHER PROMINENT CITIZEN. This corner deeply mourns the passing of Dr. Virgina Evidente, a well-respected, caring EENT practitioner in Dagupan since the 60s, and a former president of the Inner Wheel Club of Dagupan City. My sincerest condolences to Tita Nena’s family.

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