Blessing in disguise?
By Leonardo Micua
NOW that the Delta variant of the COVID-19 strain is baring its deadly fangs in Metro Manila and the whole nation, many people think that the continuous non-operation of buses from Pangasinan to Metro Manila and vice versa is actually a blessing in disguise for the Pangasinenses.
Intra-zonal public bus transport could have easily transported this deadly COVID-19 strain to Pangasinan, which according to local health authorities, still remains Delta variant-free to date. So imagine if the big buses were allowed to ply their usual routes from Pangasinan to the nation’s capital and vice versa.
But the agony and frustration of bus operators may be prolonged and their losses by the millions of pesos will continue because of the hard lockdown now in effect in Metro Manila owing to the renewed spike of coronavirus cases.
The bus operators are appealing to the national IATF to withdraw its resolution directing mandatory use of the North Luzon Expressway Terminal in Bocaue, Bulacan by all provincial buses from the North since they have their own terminals in Metro Manila where they can adopt health and safety measures to protect their passengers.
The Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Pangasinan passed its own resolution appealing to the national IATF to withdraw its resolution directing mandatory use of the NLET by all provincial buses, noting that this is the main reason why not a single bus is plying the route from Pangasinan to Manila and vice versa.
But because of the hard lockdown in Metro Manila and the need to check the inroad of the highly infectious Delta variant, we know that the operations of the buses from Pangasinan to the national capital has again hit a snag, albeit temporarily.
We want the buses to resume their trips from Pangasinan to Manila and vice versa but not now when the Delta variant, that was responsible for the spike of cases in India and Indonesia, seems have gained its foothold in some areas in Metro including its neighbors.
This is to finally free our kababayans from being forced to pay exorbitant fees as high as P1,500 per head to drivers and operators of for-hire vans that are operating illegally and are clearly taking advantage of the absence of a public transport system servicing the Pangasinan to Manila route.
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At the Sangguniang Panlalawigan on Monday, both Provincial Health Officer Dr. Anna de Guzman and Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Officer Rhodyn Luchinvar Oro, made reassuring words that no Delta variant has been detected so far in Pangasinan.
But this does not mean that we should throw all caution to the wind. There is still a need to stay vigilant, alert and awake as the Delta variant might slip in while we are looking at the other way.
Remember that the DOH just confirmed about what we earlier feared most—the easy and fast local transmission of the Delta variant. It’s possible that an infected person can enter our borders using forged health documents and could get away with it.
Or because of the high rate of bed occupancy of health care facilities in Metro Manila, some high officials, including politicians, may use their clout and influence so that they can transfers their sick relatives to any of the hospitals in Dagupan or the province. This may be remote but highly possible.
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The daily flood at the Dagupan City Hall because of high tide combined with rains just proved that former Mayor Belen Fernandez was right when she planned to transfer the seat of the city government somewhere in Barangay Pantal.
Think of the man-hours lost when city hall employees cannot report for work because of the daily flood, occurring more frequently during the months of July and August and possibly up to September.
And those who report for work will have to contend themselves with standing on their chairs or sitting on their table to prevent their feet from being soaked in floodwater. In such a situation, how can they be expected to serve efficiently particularly when someone goes to their office to ask for help?
This intolerable situation should move the officials to chart a final plan for a new city hall in another area, just like what Belen did earlier. Aren’t they embarrassed that our city is already tagged as “Dagupond” or an extension of the Lingayen Gulf? What a nerve!!
Meanwhile, the ordeal of city hall workers is far from over because there will be two periods of high tide every month during the rainy season.
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