Skeptics insisted that further easing health protocols in the midst of the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic could be disastrous with minimum health standards being disregarded as evidenced by the huge crowds in parks, malls, bargain centers and tourist spots.
With these prevailing circumstances, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año ordered Philippine National Police (PNP) officials to deploy more uniformed policemen “to all potential spots of convergence especially during the Christmas season.’’
Even if Metro Manila has attained the 85 percent vaccination rate of the eligible population, Año stressed in an interview that “we must still adhere to the health protocols and comply with the minimum health standards.’’
Earlier, Año admitted there is always the possibility of a coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) spike with the relaxed restrictions but assured that the PNP and the local government units (LGUs) will enforce the minimum public standards and prevent mass gatherings.
With the National Capital region (NCR) attaining the more than 80 percent vaccination rate for eligible population, Año noted that the alert level review and assessment is done every two weeks with the LGUs having the authority to place any area under granular lockdowns.
“Kaya madali pa din address kapag may (COVID-19) surge o community transmission (That is why it is easy to address if there is a surge or community transmission),’’ Año said.
Likewise Año revealed that there are still ‘gatekeeping factors’ that the LGUs should impose like the Prevent-Detect-Isolate-Treat-Reintegrate (PDITR) + Vaccination strategy.
But a businessman downplayed the order of more cops being deployed in known crowded areas stressing that law enforcement authorities including the barangay tanods (security village officers) are simply overwhelmed by the sudden influx of what he termed was a ‘huge mob’.
The trader, who requested anonymity, admitted agreeing for the public “to just live with COVID-19 since it is here to stay for a long period whether we like it or not.’’
“Mahilig ako sa nightlife. Kasama yan sa mga deals ko sa trading business. Aminado ako na halos mabaliw dahil sa COVID at yung pagluwag ng restrictions ay welcome na pampagana (I love the night life. It goes with my profession in my dealings in the trading business. I admit that the COVID situation has driven me crazy and the easing of restrictions is a welcome respite),’’ the businessman said.
He added that the COVID-19 pill which will soon be out in the market will ease public fears of contacting the virus.
“Hindi baleng magka COVID may gamot naman. Parang pag may gout okay lang umnom ng beer dahil may gamot naman (Contacting COVID is no longer a worry because there is a medicine for that. Even with the ailment gout it is okay to drink beer since there is a pill for that),’’ he added. (Chito A. Chavez)