I FEEL like pointing finger at someone and shouting, “Now who’s talking!”
It has been more than a month since residents of Cebu City were called “hard-headed” and “stupid” when the city recorded the highest number of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases in the country. Trust me, the thought still rankles. Deeply.
It was so unfair to blame residents of a densely populated urban center for the rapid rate of transmission of a highly infectious disease when it wasn’t their fault entirely.
Mind you, I’m not washing my hands of what happened. There were and there continue to be people who ignore health protocol to stop the disease from spreading. I’m sure they have their reasons, justified or not. But those who judged, judged too quickly and refused to take into account human nature.
First of all, majority of city residents did heed enhanced community quarantine guidelines. Otherwise, Covid-19 cases in Cebu City would have shot through the roof.
By then, most of us had realized that this pandemic was serious. But there were also pressing matters that needed attending.
The lockdown that was imposed on the city at the end of March had taken its toll. People were losing their jobs. Many were at their wit’s end trying to make ends meet. Something had to give. When it did, Cebu City was punished and humiliated.
All those pent-up resentment from other provinces and other regions came flooding through. Oh how the mighty had fallen, I’m sure they were saying behind our backs.
Okay, maybe I exaggerate. A little. But don’t tell me there was no schadenfreude going on there. Because that’s what fear and ignorance do to people. They look for scapegoats. Someone to blame and deride.
And it was so easy to point the finger at Cebu City.
Cebuanos get a lot of flak because we are a proud people. We are proud of our culture, proud of our heritage and most importantly proud of our language.
Of course, the irony is not lost on me that I’m writing this column in our former colonial master’s language, but hey, Cebuanos are also proud to be fairly decent English speakers and writers. I say “fairly” because there are those out there who think they can speak and write decent English.
Anyway. Where was I? Ah yes, I’m almost at the end of my rant.
In two days, we, the residents of Cebu City, will know what fate awaits us. I know many have been itching for things to get back to normal. Unfortunately, the threat is still out there. Fortunately, I think we are also better equipped to move forward. Don’t ask me how. It’s just a gut feeling.
We’ve been under the microscope far longer than the rest of the country, so to speak. We’ve had a lot of practice. So let’s put that to good use and prove our detractors wrong.