Cebu City world’s longest locked down city

SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Bobit S. Avila - The Philippine Star

How many times have we been told that during this global pandemic that now is not the right time to die because you cannot have a public wake, nor a big funeral. I know, as this has already happened to many of my friends who died, not necessarily from COVID-19 but for other ailments that got them sick, like cancer or heart attack. They didn’t have a public wake, but a very simple and quiet burial.

Last week we brought you the news that former Cebu City Mayor Florentino Solon has passed away. Well, last Saturday, Cebu City Councilor and former congressman Antonio Cuenco succumbed to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). His son, former city councilor James Anthony Cuenco, confirmed that Councilor Cuenco was 84 years old. James reported that his father experienced mild fever and incessant coughing last June 18, so he was swabbed on the same day. Cuenco’s test result came out last June 20, showing positive result for coronavirus. His passing away was very sudden.

Tony Cuenco was the last of the infamous Cuenco-Osmena political group that held Cebu City for more than 20 years. May he rest in peace.

Another famous legislator who passed away last week was former senator Ramon Revilla Sr. who died of heart failure. He was 93 years old. In the pre-COVID-19 days, these two personalities would have their remains brought to the Senate or Congress for necrological services. But I doubt that this is allowed at this time of COVID-19. So we’ll just offer prayers.

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If you didn’t know, Cebu City has become a world record holder as the city that has been placed longest under a lockdown and continues to be under ECQ. We started our lockdown on March 27, 2020 and we are still in lockdown until today, while most cities in the world only had two months lockdown. We were told by task force adviser Ted Herbosa that DENR Sec. Roy Cimatu would serve as an “overseer” to ensure that quarantine measures are strictly implemented to prevent the spread of the virus.

Ted Herbosa also noted that misconceptions and misinformation may have resulted in greater transmission of the virus. He added that “apparently there is some opinion in Cebu City that…COVID-19 is not as severe as dengue or TB (tuberculosis) or influenza.” Herbosa added that “Cebuanos are a bit more lax in the implementation of the community quarantine and I think we need some more advocacy in the strict staying at home policy.” Remember last week when no less than Pres. Rodrigo Duterte said that Cebuanos were hardheaded or in Binisaya “Gagi ug ulo.”

Mind you so many Cebuanos in the social media resented what the President said about Cebuanos being hardheaded. But like it or not, this is really true. Proof of this happened only a few days ago, when photos of a procession happened in Alumnus, Barangay San Nicolas that showed participants wearing masks while dancing without social distancing. The photos also show that the people watching the procession were not social distancing. So what do you call this if not hardheadedness! Having a procession when our churches are closed is beyond me.

In another photo taken by my famous photographer friend Michael Jo showed people in a port in Mactan not wearing masks and no social distancing. Some were even swimming. This only tells you that Cebuanos are truly hardheaded, which is why Sec. Cimatu asked for the PNP Special Action Force (SAF) to enforce our borders. They arrived last Saturday. Let’s hope they can control the situation in Cebu City.

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I have an email a few days ago that I’m reprinting here as it is self-explanatory. “Sir, maayong hapon. Ako na overwhelmed mobasa sa imong column via Phil.Star “Shooting Straight.” Especially, IATF should listen to people’s complaints issued June 18, 2020. For your info, kami sa AFP MUP and Survivors are unheard of the dilemma we are facing right now because the AFP Finance Center did not follow the 90-day moratorium on loan deductions via Bayanihan Heal As One Act.

Our question is why is it GSIS gave their pensioners a 90-day moratorium on loan deductions for their pensioners. To date the Phil Veterans Bank did the same. We are really affected since everybody are still caught in a quagmire of financial difficulties in this trying times. Sir, we seek your help re our grievance because our own institution /AFP Generals who are tasked in the IATF don’t even bother to listen.

What we asked for is just one month (March) refund. Our own AFP chief of staff who is the chairman of the Board, AFPSLAI didn’t even follow the moratorium of 90 days no loan deductions via Bayanihan Heal as One Act.” Wala sila nalooy sa mga retired ug mga byuda. Morag makalilimos sa Facebook sige hangyo sa AFPFC for March refund.”

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Email: [email protected]

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