More, but worse

Published August 5, 2020, 10:40 PM

by Jullie Y. Daza

Medium Rare

ECQ to MECQ to GCQ… and now, back to MECQ. What a language! It may sound like Greek but it’s beyond translation into the national language. Not that MECQ 2 means anything to me, as there’s no real difference between one category and the next, not if you’re old and, as they keep reminding us, vulnerable.

For five months now senior citizens have been having a tough(er) time co-existing with a grim, unsmiling IATF and its guidelines. Oldies are in the same category as youngsters below 21 — an age group sharing the same vulnerabilities of memory loss, lack of wisdom (or of wisdom teeth). The lockdown started Aug. 4 and ends Aug. 18, one day before the Ghost Month of mischievous spirits roaming free on furlough to do their worst.  

This new MECQ is worse, and it will linger longer – our exhausted doctors will be just as exhausted, hospitals full to the brim – just as coronavirus infections are breaking daily records in four digits. Still, we ask: Where did we go wrong during those agonizing months of isolation, anxiety, boredom, depression, an indefinite prison sentence without a calendar to mark the first day of regaining freedom? After all that sacrifice, how did we end up at the beginning again? Filipinos were second (91%) to Singaporeans (94%) in compliance with the must-wear-mask law.

MECQ 2 is a painful déjà vu played out like a lousy TV series rambling along without an ending. People walking for hours because the trains and buses are not running. (If management wanted to, they could disinfect the trains and install stricter safety protocols for employees and passengers, couldn’t they?) Another wave of hungry, homeless LSI’s trapped in inhospitable places. Jeepney drivers, back to begging for alms and mercy from an unmoved, unmoving LTFRB.

For all the do’s and don’ts being dinned into our ears against a killer virus, we are surrounded by another pernicious disease: the cancer of corruption, whether in the poorest barangay or high places such as the Mafia-like sanctum sanctorum of Philhealth. Please, Mr. President, promise you won’t let those shameless people touch a single precious centavo of the stimulus package for Bayanihan 2, and not a dime of the 2021 budget!