Malilong: The irrepressible octogenarian

Frank Malilong
·3 min read

CALL me alarmist but unless the current surge of Covid-19 cases proves to be short-lived because of timely intervention, we have to brace for another round of more stringent measures against people movement in the city.

The first two weeks of the year have seen the increase in daily cases outpace the rate of recovery. The other day for example, when the Department of Health (DOH) 7 reported 61 new cases in Cebu City, our active cases also rose to 552.

It was only 128 at the beginning of the year but it grew steadily over a 15-day period. We can only hope that it would abate soon but the prospects are far from encouraging considering that only last week we had thousands of people converging at the basilica for the novena masses.

My sources in the DOH said that what we are currently experiencing is still the spillover from the Christmas and New Year celebrations. The effects of the novena masses will be felt only next week.

We have to thank our City Government and the Augustinian friars for deciding to do away with the in-person masses. As Mayor Edgar Labella told me last week, he feared that hundreds of thousands of Sto. Niño devotees and pilgrims would be congregating at the basilica as the celebration drew to a close starting Friday up to today.

The timely intervention could prove decisive and hopefully we will not have to go through our agonizing experience in May to June last year when the pandemic went on a rampage.

In the meantime, let’s ask the City Government to expedite the purchase of the anti-coronavirus vaccine. That is the only chance we have of stopping the virus from spreading quickly. If some people refuse to have themselves vaccinated, so be it. The City should take of the others -- the majority – who are not in a hurry as the anti-vaccine guys are to their funeral.

The vaccine may not be 100 percent effective but at least it gives us a decent chance of surviving the pandemic.

Speaking of surviving Covid-16, Sonny Osmeña’s recovery was nothing short of a miracle. Sonny was 86 when he got infected, was hypertensive and had just completed treatment for colon cancer.

It is a red letter day for the city that Sonny rebuilt today, his 87th birthday. Hounded by poor management, Toledo City was in the doldrums until Sonny took over. Now, it is humming with life again. Toledo City Councilor Nick Pepito said that it was Sonny who largely engineered the city’s recovery.

After his discharge from the hospital last year, Osmeña joked that it was difficult to kill him because he was bad grass. The self-deprecation was typically Sonny. He knew that cancer is a treacherous disease and, given his advancing age, the end of the journey can come anytime.

But what a journey it has been so far for the irrepressible octogenarian.