Briones: Duque’s big reveal

·3 min read

I guess today we’ll find out what Health Secretary Francisco Duque III thinks about the Cebu Provincial Government’s guidelines and protocols for overseas Filipino workers and returning overseas Filipinos at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport.

Oh wait! Who am I kidding? We already know what he thinks. He doesn’t give a flying hoot about what Cebu has been doing to successfully manage and control the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) these past few months. Because that would make him and the other officials at the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases look like idiots.

Ooh. That sounded a bit harsh. Hmm. How shall I put it without appearing to be disrespectful? Because I don’t mean any. I have all but praises for the man who approved and required the installation of a barrier between a motorcycle driver and his passenger. Of course, that was later scrapped because not only did it prove to be ineffective in preventing the spread of the coronavirus, but it was also dangerous.

Which goes to show that the task force can change its mind. Especially when you have hundreds, no, thousands of people mocking it online for coming up with such a — how shall I put it? — novel idea.

I actually felt bad for all those people who shelled out money to install the barriers only to realize later on that these were not necessary. Because that same money could have been spent on basic necessities like food and medicines.

Sounds familiar?

Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, Duque.

During the meeting at Malacañang last Monday night, May 31, 2021, the health secretary, who heads the IATF, reportedly said they would go ahead and discuss how Cebu has been managing its Covid situation but “their minds are made up,” prompting the President to repeat his order.

In other words, the IATF doesn’t want to appear like a nincompoop in front of the public. Again. Although I don’t see the logic in its action. If it wants to project this image that it is on top of things, then it wouldn’t have any problem modifying or altering its policy if something new comes up. Heck, if Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia could and did do it, why can’t they?

I mean, I understand that in the beginning the task force was blundering in the dark and flapping in the water because, let’s face it, it was their first and hopefully their last pandemic, but that was well over a year ago. A lot has happened since then. Seasons change. Feelings change. And so on and so forth.

So I’ll keep my fingers crossed that maybe, and it’s a big MAYBE, Duque and company will have had a change of heart. I know they aren’t politicians and will probably not run in next year’s polls so they can afford to disregard public sentiment, but the people who keep them in their posts are.

And need I remind them that Cebu plays a crucial role in the grand scheme of things that we call the national elections.