CEBU CITY Vice Mayor Michael Rama wants quarantine restrictions imposed on senior citizens to be lifted; as most senior citizens, he said, are observant to quarantine and health protocols.
Rama, in a press conference on Oct. 1, 2020, said he plans to bring his appeal before the National Government so that not only Cebu City senior citizens can benefit from it, but also those from other local government units (LGU).
Rama said his advocacy started in March as there is still no law “bringing the senior citizens in captivity,” as well as restricting those below 21 years old from going out.
Rama also lamented that because of quarantine restrictions, senior citizens are no longer able to go to church.
“Ang mga edaran intawn, di tawn na sila kiat (Old people are not careless),” Rama said.
“Karon nangabli ang simbahan, pangutana apil ba’g sud ang mga edaran? Wala. Abli ang mall, apil ba’g sud ang edaran? Wala. Unsa may nahitabo? (Now the churches are open, the question is are the old people there? No. The malls are open, but are old people going in? No. What has happened?) I think it’s already too much, too much,” said Rama.
He also expressed dismay over the government order to temporarily close cemeteries and memorial parks from October 29 to November 4, 2020.
Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella, in an interview, said Rama should raise his appeal before the Covid-19 Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) as the rules implemented in the city are only pursuant to the IATF guidelines.
Labella said should the IATF yield to Rama’s appeal, the same would be implemented in the city.
Labella also pointed out that Cebu City’s quarantine guidelines permit senior citizens living alone to go out to access essential services and food.
Labella said police personnel have also been instructed to be compassionate with senior citizens.
For his part, Cebu City Councilor Joel Garganera, deputy chief implementer of the Emergency Operations Center (EOC), said considering the data on Covid-19 mortalities in the city, the EOC can not just change its protocol.
Garganera maintained it would be dangerous for senior citizens to go to church considering the number of people who converge in such enclosed areas which makes contact with others higher.
“As much as possible, senior citizens should avoid mass gatherings like churches because they are more vulnerable,” Garganera said in a mix of Cebuano and English.
Garganera, instead, advised going out to open spaces like the mountains to breathe fresh air.
He also advised families with senior citizens in their homes to interact with them so as not to make them feel like prisoners.
Data provided by the EOC show that more than half of the total number of deaths due to the coronavirus disease in Cebu City were senior citizens.
Of the 673 total deaths in Cebu City, 387 or 57.5 percent were 60 years old and above. (JJL)