Briones: Much ado about nothing

Publio J. Briones III
·2 min read

SO IS Cebu City on lockdown?

That seemed to have been the question on everybody’s mind over the weekend. And by “everybody” I mean those people who would be affected if the city was indeed placed under a stricter quarantine yet again.

As far as I am concerned, the answer is a categorical no.

There was no mention of any such thing from the Regional Inter-Agency Task Force.

Mayor Edgardo Labella also made it known that he was not keen on ordering another citywide lockdown if the number of coronavirus cases continued to go up. He said a granular lockdown might be enforced but only if the need arose and health and law enforcement sectors were consulted.

The mayor is painfully aware that a lot of thought must be given to a matter that will affect the lives of close to a million people and many more from other local government units who make a living in the city. Any decision must involve “evidence and science.”

It was City Councilor Joel Garganera who initially brought it up during a press conference on Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020, after he noticed a spike in the number of Covid-19 cases in the city. And well he did. He is, after all, the deputy chief implementer of the city’s Emergency Operations Center. It was his duty and responsibility to issue the warning and to point out that people who blatantly violated quarantine protocols would place the whole city and the rest of the province at risk of a second wave of the coronavirus.

I really thought nothing of it because Garganera was just calling a spade a spade.

I mean, people have been acting like there is no health crisis. And I don’t blame them. The City Government has been slowly lifting restrictions on their movements so they can move forward with their lives. We have had to endure the longest lockdown of any country in the world to try and contain this invisible enemy that has claimed the lives of less than .001 percent of our population of over 100 million.

Do I think the Philippines and the rest of the world overreacted to the threat of Covid-19?

Well I can’t answer that question. Not just yet, anyway. A cure has yet to be found.

To quote Dr. Mary Jean Loreche, Department of Health 7 spokesperson, the recent rise in Covid-19 cases in Cebu City is a sign that “Covid-19 is very much still here with us and we need to fight it together.”

So what exactly is going on in Cebu City?

Nothing, except that the City Government and law enforcement agencies will be strictly enforcing EXISTING quarantine protocols, unless, of course, Labella came up with new guidelines while I was writing this column.