Briones: Time to move on

Publio J. Briones III
·2 min read

I am quite aware the Department of Health (DOH) and the UP Philippine Genome Center (PGC) have a responsibility and the obligation to inform the public about the latest developments regarding the coronavirus pandemic.

After all, the health crisis has plunged the country into economic ruin in a span of almost 12 months, leaving thousands of Filipinos without jobs and forcing hundreds of businesses to shut down.

But I’m sure for the majority of the country’s 108 million population, their main concern right now is where they will get their next meal or if they will still have a roof over their heads in the coming days.

You know. Basic stuff like that.

It’s not as if the DOH central office’s announcement over the weekend that the P.1 variant (Brazil) of Sars-CoV-2 has been detected in the Philippines and the mutations detected earlier mostly in Cebu and Central Visayas have been designated as the P.3 variant will wipe away their worries. Because it won’t. In fact, it only adds to their anxiety, especially since the average Juan and Maria don’t really understand what P.1 and P.3 variants are.

And I hate to point out the obvious. None of this is new.

Here in Cebu, the DOH 7 and local governments had warned as early as December that coronavirus cases would go up after the holidays because, well, they and the public had knowingly let their guard down. So I don’t understand why many acted all surprised and alarmed when the number of cases did begin to skyrocket.

Anyway, do you think it really matters if the PGC says the P.3 variant has been “linked to possible increased transmissibility and immune escape in some studies?” After all, the PGC also admitted that further studies were still needed.

Thankfully, the DOH was quick to downplay the significance of this revelation, saying the P.3 variant “is not identified as a variant of concern as current available data are insufficient to conclude whether the variant will have significant public health implications.”

In other words, both the DOH and the PGC are in the dark. But they have to come up with something so the public won’t start questioning why it has had to suffer for so long.

In fact, I’m beginning to feel like we’re in a never-ending telenovela. What with so many cliffhangers and plot twists, I wonder who’s writing the script.

Personally, I would like the government to come up with an economic stimulus package. You know, like what Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia has done in Cebu Province. Because I’m tired. I don’t want to dwell on what has happened in the last year. I want to move on. And I think so do the majority of Filipinos.