Resolve to do our best

INTROSPECTIVE - Tony F. Katigbak - The Philippine Star

January always sees people making new year’s resolutions. The more popular ones are getting into shape, losing weight, or making career advancements. However, thanks to the uncertainty we have faced in the past two years, resolutions have become a thing of the past. Now, all we can do is resolve to try our best to make each year better than the last.

Honestly, at this point, planning is really out the window. Right now, it eerily feels reminiscent of the start of 2021. We had already seen a bit of improvement during the holiday season of 2020, only to begin 2021 with restrictions anew spurned by irresponsible holiday gatherings and super spreader events as well as a new variant. We find ourselves on the precipice of a similar situation now, and we have to make an active decision not to go down that path again.

As we begin 2022 with heightened restrictions in the National Capital Region, we need to take these next two weeks as a time to combat all the merrymaking we enjoyed during December. While it was nice to be with family and friends again and heartening to see children out and about, hospitals are steadily seeing a rise in cases and the highly transmissible Omicron variant is most likely already in our midst.

We need to focus on safety protocols and course-correct in the next two weeks. It’s possible to get a handle on the situation still and not turn it into a runaway train, similar to what happened last year that landed us back in ECQ. Let’s be more cognizant this time and commit to making better decisions. That’s the only way to move forward better than we did last time.

As of the last quarter of 2021, companies were seeing a return to the office for their employees. This is great but should also be tempered with prudence. We shouldn’t be rushing people back together if businesses can do the work in other ways. Whether online, hybrid, or staggered, there are many different ways of doing things. The pandemic has taught us that there is more than one way of working, and we shouldn’t forget all the lessons we learned when things show a bit of improvement.

And while a couple of steps backwards may not be ideal, this is still better than an intense backslide. We can make up the ground of a few steps, but we need to be proactive instead of reactive. Companies must continue following safety protocols and not get complacent in their desire to surge forward. Slow and steady is a better way towards improved success in 2022 than fast burn and faster burnout.

And the same is true for the government as well. We were well on the path to improved numbers and a far more controlled situation early in December. With numbers well below the recommended rates, we saw that we could potentially mitigate virus spread and keep our citizens safe.

However, as our positive cases began to double and news of the new variant became more widely spread, we needed to make adjustments before the situation got out of hand. Understandably, people still wanted to celebrate the holidays. We did, but now the government has to responsibly make adjustments to ensure we keep the situation under check, even if these adjustments may not be what the masses want.

And they are not the only ones. We all have to do our part. After two years in some form of quarantine or alert, it is understandable we are all feeling fatigued, and we want to move on with our lives. But we’ll never be able to do that if we keep falling backwards. The only way forward is to be responsible. As difficult as it may be to follow restrictions and rules, we must resolve to do our best to do so.

And we have to understand that restrictions are put into place for a reason. The news that people are jumping quarantine is not only aggravating it’s disheartening too. We need travelers (especially those from countries with known Omicron outbreaks) to quarantine not just for their safety for the safety of everyone around them. It’s not about connections or who you know, it’s about your commitment to being safe and keeping those around you safe as well.

We know of already two quarantine jumpers, and I’m sure there have been more. This needs to be addressed. They are not just putting themselves in danger but also endangering the lives of people around them. The first one that has been on the news constantly has been confirmed positive and has been around several other people – friends, staff, innocent bystanders. These people all went home to their own families and so on. At this point, who knows how far it’s spread. And all because one person decided that it was okay to skip quarantine and go out and party.

Even if resolutions may be hard to make this year due to the uncertainty we all face, we need to resolve to do better. Whether it’s businesses, the government, or ourselves as individuals, we’ll never move forward unless we do it together. Let’s reinvest in the country and do our part. Follow safety protocols, get vaccinated and boosted, and commit to staying home and staying safe.

Hopefully, these next two weeks can get us back on track to starting 2022 strong and making it better and safer than the last.


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