Except in exceptionally affluent neighborhoods, no panic buying occurred upon the ECQ2 declaration during the Holy Week, nor after this was extended by another seven days. Well, what did you expect? No work, no pay; no pay, no shopping; ergo no panic buying, only panic.
After 13 months of lockdowns – by any other name, hard, soft, vertical, granular, special concern, MCQ, MECQ, GCQ – have we finally got the hang of it? Not according to TV reports of bare-chested men gambling with their cocks, drinking like there was no tomorrow, children roaming the streets… All these while doctors, nurses, medical and nontechnical personnel struggle to make do with what little they have to save lives and keep their patients comfortable. Playing God, deciding which patient to give the oxygen to, which one to pull away from the clutches of the virus, etc. will be the end game.
After the Holy Week, we are back to our unholy ways. Not that the vice lords and their minions stopped selling drugs by the kilogram in the most ingenious ways, or that hired guns would turn down a contract killing during such a sacred time. As Bertrand Russell piously observed, “Christianity is an ongoing experiment.”
On the plus side, it was nice to see how the biggest chain of drugstores in the country refused to be cowed by the pandemic. In less than 30 seconds, one of its branches in the Global City picks up your call, takes down your order, and tells you where to pay, contactless, and get your medicine. (I hope this is the same strategy in their stores elsewhere.) Congratulations, Netizens, for teaching that barangay “official” how essential lugaw is, she who had haughtily scolded the delivery rider for his mistake, “Lugaw is not essential because you can live without it!” Right on cue, the National Commission on Culture and the Arts and the National Quincentennial Committee weighed in by declaring that lugaw is not only an essential food, it’s a national cultural symbol and is in fact one of the earliest recorded dishes.
The official’s impulsive behavior goes a long way in illustrating how the longest lockdown has not only frayed nerves but perverted the meaning of authority to regulate and control.