Bzzzzz: Labella prefers Cebu City to stay at GCQ; Lopez not prepped on Patriotic Oath

CEBU City Mayor Edgardo Labella said Tuesday, June 9, he would prefer that the city remain under general community quarantine (GCQ) after June 15, citing "the current situation" where new cases of Covid-19 continue to emerge although recoveries are also high.

Labella said the changes under a modified community quarantine (MGCQ) would not be good. He mentioned the reopening of entertainment centers and letting loose seniors and youths under 21 on the streets, "less restrictions in the movement of the public." That would be "very lax and too lenient," he told CDN.

On the other hand, the mayor wouldn't want an MECQ, or modified enhanced quarantine, which some people with links to IATF suggest if new cases would keep rising. He resisted MECQ for the June-1-to-15 phase and IATF yielded to the city's appeal, resulting in the GCQ status not just for Cebu City but also the rest of Cebu.

The reality is that it could be a one-step-forward, one- or-two- steps backward exercise, with respect to status or category of quarantine for an LGU. Those options are still with the National Government.

Labella, for now, chooses not to move forward or backward. That way, he can use what they call "segmenting" and "sequencing" in picking places for the lockdown and its lifting.

Movement under MGCQ

Mayor Labella may have missed the amendment made by IATF last June 4, in its Resolution #43 series of 2020, which rules that under a modified quarantine, the movement of all persons would be limited to accessing essential goods and services and for work in offices allowed to operate under MGCQ.

Labella gave the loosening of the ban on movement as reason for opposing a shift to MGCQ after June 15. He must have relied on previous IATF guidelines that allowed all persons to go outside their residences in places declared under the "less stringent" MGCQ.

Under the latest IATF amendment however, the general ban is imposed and persons below 21 and above 60, those with health risks, and pregnant women are also required "to remain in their residence at all times" except for necessities and for work.

***

Who remembers the oath?

If it was just a means to draw a piece of trivia and provide some interesting sidelight in the House committee hearing on the franchise application of ABS-CBN, Representative Rodante Marcoleta would've come out none the worse.

But the predicate to his question made it a condition to the issue of allegiance of Gabby Lopez III, ABS-CBN chairman emeritus. Lopez appeared before the House committee of legislative franchises and committee on good government and public accountability Monday, June 8.

Marcoleta, one of the House's 21 or so deputy speakers, asked: "Ganito na lamang po, para matapos tayo sa issue ng allegiance, mawalang galang na po, Mr. Lopez, pwede ba naming hilingin sa inyo na i-recite ninyo ang unang linya ng Panatang Makabayan?"

Whether Lopez was coached by his lawyer or not, while Marcoleta was trading words with a colleague, Representative Carlos Zarate, known to be a defender of ABS-CBN, the network's executive was able to blurt out, "Iniibig ko ang Pilipinas."

That didn't prove anything of course. Being able to parrot the oath of allegiance neither proves nor disproves anyone's citizenship. Many Filipinos cannot remember the oath which they kept reciting during grade school but forgot soon enough when they became older. Besides people tend to junk memorized stuff if they could check it anytime on their phone.

Ill-prepared Lopez

Apparently, the ABS-CBN owner was not thoroughly prepped by his aides on the citizenship issue.

It would've been a triumphant moment if, to the request to recite the

patriotic oath, Lopez, 68 this August 13, had answered thus:

"May I please ask the chair which oath I would recite, just the Panatang Makabayan (the Patriotic Oath) or the Panunumpa ng Katapatan sa Watawat (the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag) in English or in Pilipino, or both. And should I sing Lupang Hinirang before or after reciting it?"

And yes Lopez, or his coach, was right. the first line of Panatang Makabayan is "Iniibig ko ang Pilipinas."

But he didn't have to stop there. He could've gone on, "...aking lupang sinilangan, tahanan ng aking lahi..."

***

Tell us about it.

[paseares1@gmail.com]