“I also want to change the messaging in regard to Covid. The messaging has to change for us to be successful in this fight.”—Talisay City Mayor Gerald Anthony “Samsam” Gullas Jr.
ONE of the better performing local government units in Cebu in the course of the Covid-19 pandemic is Talisay City. The only time it suffered a setback in its level of quarantine last year was only because of its limited capacity in terms of available tertiary critical care. Other than that, the City has kept its number of cases to a trickle.
Going the rounds recently is a video message of Mayor Gerald Anthony “Samsam” Gullas Jr., who fell through dire straits as a symptomatic Covid-19 positive early in February.
“Ako si Samsam Gullas, Covid-19 positive patient 1306. I was swabbed Feb. 9 and I had a positive swab on Feb. 10. And this is my story...” thus the mayor introduced himself in the video.
The mayor narrated on video his ordeal as a symptomatic patient. Refusing earlier to go to the hospital, he had to yield after an unbearable throat pain. He was brought to a private hospital in Cebu City at dawn of Feb. 11, begging the doctor to administer food and medications intravenously.
“Ang kasakit sa akong tutonlan, morag sama ra nga naay hait nga bildo nga nagbabag sa akong ubol-ubol (The pain in my throat felt like there was a sharp glass stuck in it),” Gullas said.
It was only during the fourth day that the symptoms subsided. He was discharged on the fourth day, but had to go on further isolation in another facility for 14 days. He was missing his family, especially “Pining,” his youngest daughter.
He found later that two of his staff, with whom he oftentimes shared the official vehicle, tested positive as well.
The arch of Samsam’s message goes down to #SharedResponsibility, a messaging he now wants to emphasize in Talisay City. The fight against the pandemic is only as good as how the citizens play their part. Government can’t do it alone.
What is, however, interesting in the mayor’s messaging is his emphasis on how real Covid-19 is, an important sound bite especially with officials who play the role as Covid deniers.
“What I really wanted to emphasize was this. Covid can affect you differently. You can be asymptomatic, meaning walay gibati, or you can be symptomatic like me. Swerte kung asymptomatic ka, pero lisud kung symptomatic ka,” the mayor said.
We laud the young mayor, our version of this new breed of officials of late who veer away from the lackluster nature of traditional politics.