Is Dagupan doomed?
By Leonardo Micua
THE city of Dagupan is now on the edge. Not only because it has gone back as the epicenter of the pandemic in the whole of Pangasinan on account of its continuously surging COVID-19 cases but also because, along with Ilocos Norte, it is now on COVID-19 Alert Level 4.
With its 404 active cases and registering the highest single day surge of 54 last August 25, it does not take one to be a rocket scientist to know that something is really wrong in Dagupan, whose land area is only less than 49 square kilometers and densely populated by more than 119,000 souls.
To borrow the words posted by Councilor Joey Tamayo in his social media account, “Matira and matibay”, we can say the situation prevailing in the city is something like that. COVID-19 has gone berserk and is now almost uncontrollable. Probably, the city is now swarming with too many COVID-19 cases but are asymptomatic and the local government seemed to be incapable of reining them.
With 30 of its 31 barangays now infected, according to the latest monitoring shared to us by Dagupan’s Public Information Office, overshooting the 25 percent threshold under the Omnibus Guideline set by the national Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, it ought to have a quarantine qualification higher than the present Modified General Community Quarantine.
We shudder in the thought that there is not a single safe place anymore that we can go to in order to shield us from this contagion except to stay put in our homes and hope for the best, or else one may encounter in the street a walking spreader or come elbow to elbow inside a jeepney with an asymptomatic COVID-19 positives.
And what did the local government do to address the problem? Mayor Brian Lim simply issued an executive order for a qualified liquor ban, whereas surrounding municipalities like Calasiao, Binmaley and Lingayen completely banned liquor within their respective jurisdictions. Under the EO of Mayor Lim, the serving of liquor in restaurants, bars and similar establishments as well as the drinking of liquor in public places are prohibited.
But the EO still allows anyone to buy liquor and for the store to sell the same. Isn’t he being over-protective of the consumers of liquor as well as the outlets of liquor, one of which could be his own family business? Just asking!
Too, under the same EO, he lengthened the curfew so that people should be home before the clock strikes 8 p.m. and would still be there till 4:00 a.m., in tune with the curfew hours of the whole of Pangasinan, and amending a previous curfew set by him from 9 p.m. to 4:00 a.m.
In an earlier EO, he suspended the Run and Bike Day along JDV Expressway, prohibited senior citizens older than 65 years old as well as minors from going out of their houses and strictly enforced the wearing of face mask and face shields in the public markets as well as in the streets.
Many doubted if his EOs are really the relevant answers to address the contagion and in stopping the seemingly uncontrollable transmission of the virus in all our communities. We were informed that he sternly refused to lockdown residences, compounds, streets and sitios where some of the cases are coming from.
This is mainly because of the financial burden that this move would entail as he ought to provide the food needs of the locked down population during their entire quarantine period so that they will not search for food somewhere else. And the city at this stage is incapable of shouldering the cost.
I doubt if the national government can provide ayuda in case a lockdown is ordered in Dagupan. I recall that Mayor Jefferson Soriano of Tuguegarao City has long been waiting in vain that his city be treated similarly as the cities in Metro Manila when they were placed under Enhanced Community Quarantine, when ayuda was made available to their residents. Because its COVID-19 cases has also gone over the limits, Tuguegarao has been under ECQ several weeks before.
So, probably the city is doomed. The Matira ang matibay phrase is for real.
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