Wanted: Out of the box solution
By Leonardo Micua
WITH its 333 active cases as of September 8, San Fernando City, La Union, voluntarily placed itself under the General Community Quarantine, a notch higher than the Modified General Community Quarantine classification of the whole of La Union, by virtue of Executive Order No. 129-2021 issued by Mayor Dong Gualberto.
The new classification, which took effect last September 8 till the 22nd of this month, was intended to slow down the transmission of COVID-19 virus in San Fernando’s various communities.
The situation in San Fernando is not as alarming as in Dagupan but I doubt if Mayor Brian Lim will take a similar tact, downgrading the present GCQ classification of his city to a more restrictive one even if Dagupan already recorded 667 active cases as of September 8, twice more than the number so far registered by San Fernando.
What’s more, as of that date, Dagupan’s biggest barangay, Bonuan Gueset, already logged a record 100 active cases. More surprisingly, more than a dozen of its 31 barangays are already logging cases in double digits for the first time.
Two weeks ago, when all the health care facilities in the city led by Region 1 Medical Center already reached their full occupancy, and more patients were lining up to be admitted because of the renewed spike in COVID-19 cases, Mayor Lim did not bother to seek lower classification for his city if only to slow down the surge of cases.
Governor Amado Espino III, noting the continuously rising COVID-19 cases because of the incursion of the Delta variant, refused to be caught flat footed. With a proactive mind, he asked the national IATF-EID through the regional IATF-EID to place Pangasinan under GCQ but with heightened restrictions from September 8 to 22. It was readily granted.
In the case of Dagupan and with its 667 active cases now spread in its 31 barangay, and still counting, many believe that COVID-19 may already be getting out of control because the measures instituted by Lim to stop the spread of the infection are not tough enough.
With 70 new cases and another 76 fresh cases registered in the city successively on September 7 and 8, their hunches (and mine) of a worse scenario is likely to come true.
Now that the cases are continuously soaring and are almost unstoppable, anemic solution to the problem by those at the helm cannot work. In these difficult and trying times, what we need is a leaders who are proactive, not merely reactive, who can get us out from the quicksand. An out of the box solution is necessary.
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We noted that among the reasons invoked by the city hall why the small ambulant fish vendors of Dagupan were relocated to a new site not easily accessible to buyers was the road clearing policy of the Department of the Interior and Local Government that needed to be complied with. (What is not mentioned is the “tong” that the ambulant vendors refused to pay to the collector).
If this is true, then why did the city allow the vendors to sell in a small cramped space between the sidewalk and the property leased to the CSI Group of Companies where it built the CSI Market Square. If the officials haven’t noticed it yet, most of the vendors have already invaded the sidewalk and could be the subject for road clearing by DILG too.
In order keep the vendors from the prying eyes of motorists cruising A.B. Fernandez Avenue in the downtown area, the city installed big tarpaulins that separated the sidewalk from the road pavement, so high that CSI Market Square is already almost hidden from the public view.
My spy said that perhaps, some of the vendors and their families were using their stalls as sleeping quarters too during the night, the reason why the area now reeks the stench from toddlers’ and cats’ poops. Our co-worker Rolly Dioquino, who usually trek to city hall and back to our office, deliberately avoids that sidewalk, fearing that he might step on one of those poops.
To my mind, this has become one of the ugliest parts of the downtown area if not in the whole city as the tarpaulins had been reduced into mere tatters. Even the tarpaulin where the official seal of Dagupan is placed had been punctured and the holes have exposed the vendors that the city was trying to hide from the public.
What’s bad is, city officials are deliberately turning a blind eye to these eyesores.
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