HEALTH Secretary Francisco Duque III said: “There seems to be no improvement in Central Visayas despite the prolonged imposition of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ). However, in Cebu island, which is part of the region, there are areas under MECQ and GCQ with heightened restrictions. It is not under ECQ.”
I would like to suggest that before Duque or any Manila-based expert shows concern and poke their fingers on Cebu, they should see to it that the Covid-19 cases in the National Capital Region (NCR) are declining. They are based there, and they should give priority in solving the problem in their areas.
Why are they concerned about other areas like Cebu when they are not able to control the transmission and infections in their area? They think that our leaders here are not doing something to contain the spread of the virus? If they are not contented with what our leaders are doing here, they should come here or send somebody like what they did last year when cases surged by sending Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu and manage our Covid response.
Duque said that despite placing Central Visayas and some parts under strict quarantine status, cases are rising. Okay, I will not argue on that because there’s really a surge here. But placing the NCR also under ECQ for two weeks, did it decrease the cases? No. We are in the same situation. Cases are rising daily to four digits in the NCR.
The Inter-agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) placed the NCR under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) effective Aug. 21 up to Aug. 31 from ECQ from Aug. 6 to 20 because the business community aired its concern on the effect of the economy under a prolongeed ECQ. I doubt that in the two-week MECQ cases will decrease. They were not even contained in the two weeks of ECQ. How much more with two weeks of MECQ, which is a less stringent quarantine classification?
But DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said that prolonged lockdowns may no longer be effective in the ongoing fight against Covid-19. If this is the case, why is the IATF imposing strict quarantine classification and lockdowns in areas with many positive cases? I cannot understand our health officials’ Covid response. They have been changing their policies.
The DOH reported the other day the detection of 466 more Delta cases and 19 of these cases were detected in Central Visayas. The overall count is now at 1,273. Health officials said that the 422 new Delta infections are local cases, 14 returning Filipinos from overseas and 10 up for verification. Now, if IATF, Duque and those experts are really concerned about the situation in the NCR, they could have prevented the entry of more Delta variant cases from returning Filipinos.
Where were the first Delta and now the new Lambda variant cases detected? There in the NCR. Now, they blamed Cebu’s laxity in border control for the spread of the Delta variant in Mindanao. Why not blame themselves first before pointing an accusing finger to us here. That is the problem of Duque and his minions of experts; they are playing the “blame game.” Secretary Duque, you should clean your own backyard before you barge into someone else’s. “If you point a finger, make sure that the other four are not pointing right at you,” said Cecille F. Critica.
An RT-PCR test is now a requirement for politicians who wish to file their certificates of candidacy (COC) for next year’s elections. The Commission on Elections (Comelec) will require politicians who will file their COC to present a negative swab test result and limit their companions to two or three individuals in the Comelec offices. Resolution 10717 of the Comelec en banc directs aspirants for the positions of President, Vice President and Senator to present a negative result from an RT-PCR test or antigen test taken within the last 24 hours prior to the filing of COC and certificate of nomination and acceptance (Cona).
The Comelec said the antigen testing of the aspirants and their companions/escorts and all media personnel shall be at the expense provided for by the Comelec and shall be done in a space near the receiving office/venue for the filing. Any person without negative antigen testing result shall not be allowed access in the receiving office for filing.
If its intention is to avoid mass gathering in Comelec offices, can we ask the poll body, why it did not include local aspirants who usually flock to the various Comelec offices during the filing? And what about if an aspirant is found positive? He/she can no longer file his/her COC because he/she will be automatically quarantined?