Hope amid the crisis

By: Gloria Estenzo Ramos - Columnist/CDN Digital | April 02,2020 - 07:00 AM



So, this is how it feels to be in a wartime mode — each day of the COVID-19 crisis brings uncertainty coupled with hope that the nightmare will soon end.

We offer our condolences and prayers to the families who lost their loved ones to this cruel invisible enemy. 

We hope for healing for those who are infected and strength for the health specialists and workers who are unselfishly saving lives, knowing their own is at risk by doing so.

We appreciate the work of national and local authorities, nameless frontliners and friends and colleagues who help ensure that our displaced people are healthy, have food to eat and shelter for their weary bodies. 

This crisis has brought out the best in us and, unfortunately, the ‘beast’ that lurks within, as well.

Perhaps due to the high level of anxiety that prevails, we sense a growing lack of respect for people to exercise their rights; some even border on discrimination. 

The No Mask-No Entry policy is highly questionable and inappropriate, when there is a dearth of personal protective equipment for our health professionals. 

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) has not imposed a ‘no mask, no entry’ requirement on establishments, only social distancing, according to Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles.

The Department of Health urged local government units “to not enforce a no-mask-no-entry policy in establishments and called that the medical supply should be left instead to health workers attending to the needs of patients who have or suspected to have the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).”

Discrimination against and the stigma attached to being a health service provider is uncalled for. Social media has stories of landlords and neighbors evicting doctors and nurses for fear of getting infected. Vice President Leni Robredo has established for free such a dormitory for health workers and for those who find it difficult to go to their workplace because of travel restrictions. 

We call for respect, compassion and tolerance for our people who are asserting their basic liberties and their rights and who are sacrificing their own health to serve the people.

Amid the restlessness and hunger faced by some sectors, now is the best time for government to be closer to the people through continuing collaboration, coordination and inclusive governance.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar has appealed to the local governments the unhampered delivery of the food supply. DA food passes are not honored by some local governments. This has impact on the timely delivery of fish and agricultural products. It is a welcome news that the Department of the Interior and Local Government will soon release guidelines to the local governments in this regard.

DA’s Kadiwa on Wheels outlets that sell fresh vegetables and other agri-fishery products that are at least 20 percent cheaper than those sold at public markets can be rolled out nationwide, in partnership with local governments, provided social distancing is ensured. 

Kadiwa ni Ani at Kita is a collaborative project of the Department of Agriculture, Department of Interior and Local Government, and Food Terminal Inc. (FTI) and with some local governments such as Pateros, Quezon City, Caloocan, Taguig, and Pasig and the food producers.

We need more such partnerships in Cebu and elsewhere to surmount this crisis./dbs

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