By MAYOR ISKO MORENO
Before anything else, I would like to congratulate the bosses and staff of the Manila Bulletin on the occasion of our newspaper’s 120th founding anniversary yesterday (Sunday). So proud to have become a part of this prestigious institution which had been a purveyor of truth for over a century now.
Here’s wishing everyone from the Manila Bulletin a happy anniversary and with God’s grace, I’m certain that we will have many, many more anniversaries to come.
I’m simply at a loss for words with the recent outpouring of support the city government of Manila has been continuously getting, especially in the wake of fears spurred by the announcement of the Department of Health that a patient in San Lazaro Hospital had been confirmed to have contracted the 2019 novel corona virus.
Thousands upon thousands of face masks continue to arrive at my office as donations from private individuals and businessmen and just over the weekend, I received hundreds of high-tech infrared thermometers that can scan people and detect if they are running a fever. The thermometers, donated by Harwin Chen of MorganStar Co., can detect fever quickly and precisely, by just pointing the device at the forehead, thus doing away with any physical contact.
I can’t thank these kind-hearted donors enough, just as I am equally grateful to the officials and employes of the Manila City Hall, barangay leaders, and the residents, for their cooperation, help and support not only in maintaining clean surroundings as a deterrent to any illness borne by germs, but also in the city’s rigid information drive not only involving the corona virus but also other health programs.
So far, the city government of Manila has already distributed over 650,000 surgical and N95 face masks to city employees, barangays, students from the city’s 104 public elementary and high schools as well as colleges and jail personnel, among others. We are still slated to distribute more in the days to come, as donations continue arriving, thus augmenting the thousands initially purchased by the city for immediate distribution to the city employees, specially our health frontliners.
Apart from the 500,000 face masks given to students, we also handed over 6,200 face masks to the San Lazaro Hospital where suspected coronavirus cases are being treated, being one of the hospitals in the country with such capability.
Congratulations are in order for Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna who, as the supervising authority of the six city-run hospitals, has made sure that the hospitals are on their toes to guard against and be ready to treat anyone who might walk in with the symptoms attendant to the novel corona virus.
Ditto with Manila Health Department chief Dr. Arnold ‘Poks’ Pangan, who helped yours truly in conducting an intensive information drive about the corona virus way before a patient was confirmed to be carrying it.
The Manila Traffic and Parking Bureau (MTPB) personnel led by their chief, Dennis Viaje, also deserve commendation for their volunteerism, as they helped repack the face masks slated for distribution.
All these positive efforts and developments showing how Manilans can come together during times of impending crisis just make one proud to be a part of government, to be a Filipino.
Lamentably, these happy thoughts were marred by the chaos that took place over the weekend due to the panic buying of face masks in Bambang, Sta. Cruz, an area noted for the rows of establishments selling medical products.
Tension rose as most of the buyers claimed that they pre-ordered masks only to be told that the stocks had run out.
Whether this is true or not, we cannot rule out the possibility that some unscrupulous traders may just be taking undue advantage of the situation to gain profit. By creating artificial shortage in the supply of face masks, these traders can later resell their old stocks at higher prices.
I am appealing to these businessmen’s conscience. Please, do not put profit above everything else. Do not profit at the expense of your fellowmen’s suffering.
Always remember, what goes around, comes around…
Walang mag mamalasakit sa Maynila kundi tayo ding mga Batang Maynila. Manila, God first!
For updates on latest developments in the city of Manila, please visit my Facebook account— ‘Isko Moreno Domagoso.’