"MORA'G WAY NAHITABO." President Rodrigo Duterte last June 22 called Cebuanos "so stubborn." He also said we are "too confident and too complacent."
But the "stubborn" part has stuck in the nation's mind and rankled in the Cebuano heart.
The word is sharper and more colorful, with the Cebuano-Bisaya equivalent "gahi'g ulo" (literally, hard-headed) resonating locally as sound bite from Malacañang.
Last July 8, Duterte added another word in describing Cebuanos, at the same time repeating the "gahi mo'g ulo" line. Cebuanos are "nonchalant," he said. "Mora'g way nahitabo, sa Binisaya pa."
Having seen government video clips of scenes in Cebu City, he said: "Aba wala gyud, mora'g walay...walay warning, wala tanan." "Nonchalant" denotes lack of concern, interest, enthusiasm. It means "casually indifferent." Nonchalance can be cool but not in the time of a pandemic.
President Duterte indicated that Cebuanos similarly behaved in other times of emergency. He also saw video footage provided by his communications office that showed Cebuanos violating health protocol.
It's a pity that Cebuanos are now stereotyped in the nation's mind as stubborn and indifferent to risks. The display of "undesirable" behavior by a few has led to the branding. We are all tagged.
Cimatu's title and powers
SPECIFICS UNDISCLOSED. DENR chief Roy Cimatu has been in Cebu City, or flown in and out of here, since June 29. But what exactly are his title and job description?
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, in that July 8 meeting of IATF with the President, referred to Secretary Roy as "chief overseer" of the Cebu City management of the pandemic.
Cimatu's title and job description on paper have not been publicized since it was announced that he'd be Duterte's representative.
Neither were Cimatu's specified powers disclosed to the public. But this Malacañang told us: Cimatu was ordered "to do all that he needed to do" and exercise all the delegated powers of the President and IATF.
That may not matter to national leaders. Yet it mattered to city residents when police heeded the overseer's instruction on enforcing quarantine rules, not the mayor's executive order.
Noah, Botanical Garden
ACRONYM STICKS, FULL NAME IGNORED. Few people know or remember the full name of the quarantine site at the South Road Properties in Cebu City. It is "New Normal Oasis for Adaptation and a Home Complex." Nine words, counting three articles. But who uses the long name? The facility is better and more widely known as Noah Complex.
Unveiled and blessed last May 28, Noah has been dragged into a few minor controversies over its completion and contributions from the private sector. It is located, interestingly, in the unused Bigfoot film-making studios of a foreigner friend of former mayor Tomas Osmeña.
The proposed new Cebu City cemetery, tentatively located in Ca-teves, Guba, is named in the proposed ordinance "Cebu City Botanical Memorial Garden." The name is five words now but it could go longer when the ordinance reaches the mayor's desk for signature. There's no acronym yet. People might just call it Cebu City Cemetery.
The word "Oasis" in the SRP quarantine site name and "Botanical Garden" are euphemism for "quarantine" and "cemetery" respectively. The names though can be made shorter for easier recall. The public often forgets the long name altogether and uses only the acronym or the short generic name.
Whom to blame, credit
CIMATU, LABELLA? If efforts to bring down the indicators of a Covid-19 surge succeed and Cebu City gets back to GCQ on July 16, most likely overseer Roy Cimatu get the credit. After all, that's his mission, Cimatu is the trouble-shooter.
If things won't improve and Cebu City will stay at ECQ, will Cimatu be blamed? Not necessarily. Some critics may still insist it is Mayor Labella for, say, failing to follow Cimatu's orders. And there are the Cebuanos, the "stubborn and nonchalant" Cebuanos, to bash.