By JULLIE Y. DAZA
Day 94 of the longest lockdown. By the time we reach the end (?) of GCQ on June 30, senior citizens in the NCR will have hit a historical high of 107 days confined to quarters, serving a prison sentence at home without the benefit of a lawyer to argue the defendant’s case.
How would Virgilio Almario translate the highly inventive quarantine categories dreamed up by a council of learned men (and no women?) who get their kicks locking us up and keeping us indoors? Outside, thousands of people holding down whatever jobs have survived the crisis are forced to walk great distances under the baking sun or pouring rain because it has taken DOTr with its LTFRB, LTO, and MMDA these many months to devise a plan – and still no plan! — to move pedestrians, LSIs and OFWs, punishing them because they do not own a car. So they fight for space in the few public vehicles available, not including idled jeepneys, tricycles, UV vans and, yes, whatever happened to those cumbersome, clumsy city and provincial buses? They’re in storage awaiting a new dawn. So many in need, so much wasted.
What’s keeping the bright boys of IATF from tapping their little gray cells? Have they been promoted to the level of their incompetence? There are at least four visible generals in the cabinet within a cabinet who are in charge of the toughest assignments – defense, local government, social welfare, and chief implementor. But while managers with military DNA are expected to play the logistics game better than their nonmilitary peers, they don’t seem to be getting the results they want. The fault may not be the generals’ if they’re not used to barking orders at civilians who don’t instinctively reply “Yes, sir!,” no questions asked.
Our lockdown looks like a military exercise carried out by soldiers and policemen. You see them everywhere, in uniform, masked and armed – a few ready to disarm with their smiles, like the one who fished out a hundred-dollar bill from his wallet and gave it to a student he felt sorry for. He didn’t need his superiors to tell him to do what’s right at the right time to the right beneficiary.