Watch the ships that dock
By Leonardo Micua
WE may be focusing too much attention on our borders in a bid to stop the entry of a person who may knowingly or unknowingly be carrying the dreaded Delta variant. But this 60 percent more transmittable strain of the coronavirus may yet ultimately reach us through a route that we least expect.
We have a hunch that the cargo ships that usually drop anchors in the Sual Cove during a stormy weather could be the possible source of the unwanted Delta variant since they may have come from ports of nations where the Delta variant has already wreaked havoc.
We are not talking about the crews of these ships that go to ashore to buy food and other provisions in Labrador because we know the Philippine Coast Guard is always on its toes and will do all to stop them.
We are talking about the “guest-relations” girls, who by force of circumstances, slip in the dead of the night to board vessels to entertain the bored crew and give them some company during cold nights. It is no secret that this has been a regular occurrence in the past.
Of course, the notorious “Akyat Barko Girls” are not alone in this caper. There are the pimps in communication with the ships’ crew, that herd and escort the girls to these ships for a fee. If this should happen at this time, the girls will likely be in the company of the seamen who may be carrying the Delta variant and presto, the COVID-19 strain will already be spreading like wild fire soon as they get home to their families.
I shared our hunch with Provincial Information Officer Butch Velasco, when I was in his office together with our PUNCH photojournalists Willie Lomibao and Cezar Ramirez. They, too, agreed that this is possible, so we suggested that he takes up this matter with Provincial Health Officer Dr. Anna de Guzman.
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Some parts of Dagupan City went under water again on July 23 as a result of torrential rains spawned by Typhoon Fabian the night before. Conspiring with high tide that reached its peak at 1.9 meters at 9:44 a.m. the flood again rendered low-lying streets almost impassable, one was the Herrero Street, particularly at the back of SM Dagupan.
A day earlier, some people who were at the processing center for the national identification card at the One-Stop Business Center at City Hall, had their biometrics and photos taken while their feet were soaked in about 10-inch deep flood water because of the rains and high tide.
At the premises of the city hall, officials and employees were forced to tip-toe to their offices to prevent their shoes from getting wet.
Yet, an accountable city official had the temerity to say that the flood in Dagupan cannot be solved overnight, not in one year, not in two years, not in three years but 10 years.
Must the people of Dagupan wait that long to be protected from the regular flooding in the city? I wonder whether the mayor was in his office when the employees were wading in floodwaters to reach their work places.
Rolly, our co-worker in the PUNCH, told me that at that early morning, he had a hard time getting to the office as the road from Barangay Mayombo to the junction A.B. Fernandez Ave. again literally became a water world.
As a result, vehicles streaming to Dagupan were moving at turtle-pace, and many commuters on board jeepneys were again late for work.
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I bumped into former Councilor Jeslito “Jigs” Seen at his Gloria Maris Restaurant last Saturday. He had just received his post-graduate class in Public Administration and is currently teaching at the Philippine Christian University in La Union, lecturing his 50 students via zoom because of the pandemic.
With his degree in public administration and having served as a city councilor for 9 years, Jigs is in the best position to share his own learnings with students. He was the chairman of the appropriations committee of the city council during the two terms of then Mayor Belen Fernandez and when she was still vice mayor.
When asked if he is going back to his old post, he responded with a wide positive grin said he was expecting someone to come and lay down plans for the coming election. That means, it is a go for him and his team.
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