Don’t quit!
AS A MATTER OF FACT - Sara Soliven De Guzman (The Philippine Star) - July 6, 2020 - 12:00am

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
When funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about,
When he might have won if he’d stuck it out.
Don’t give up, though the pace seems slow -
You may succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than
It seems to a faint and faltering man;
Often the struggler has given up
When he might have captured the victor’s cup,
And he learned too late, when the night slipped down,
How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out -
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are -
It may be near when it seems afar;
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit -
It’s when things seem worst that you mustn’t quit.

Don’t Quit! by John Greenleaf Whittier. This is a very timely poem that will help us think positive during this Covid-19 crisis. Many of us have lost loved ones, friends, associates and acquaintances during this pandemic. Once the virus hits you… boom that’s it! It’s deadly if you are not careful.

Who would have known this year of the rat, 2020 would bring so many storms into our lives? Death, unemployment, economic woes, corruption, senseless killings, natural disasters and calamities, Covid-19, etc.

It would be such a relief if government can help control the virus. Their daily and weekly televised meetings do not really say much. I think they need to talk about things the people need to hear. They need to talk about things that will interest the public. It’s really not about the Bayanihan Act 1and 2 nor is it about how each sector is coping with the pandemic. We want to hear how government will stop the virus so we can start living the “new normal” life.

As it is, the numbers are going up. Measures to do rapid testing is in sight but not as thorough as we wish it should be. Honestly, I haven’t heard anything about the testing in my neck of the woods. I’ve learned that many industries and business establishments are not even required to have their staff tested before returning to work. Testing seems to remain a concept and to some still unheard of. No plans, no mandates and no directives given to the public.

Why am I so persistent about testing? Because it is the only way to know whether the person you are talking to, sitting next to, transacting business with is a carrier of Covid-19. If you do not know that you are a carrier yourself, how can you take caution?

The problem right now is that government and the two houses are busy signing bills left and right. But I have yet to see one on Covid-19. Why not put more serious work on Covid-19 matters and how to get our country going? As it is, we are only touching the surface. We must go deeper into the root of the problem. People need a more proactive government. Hospital bills are exceedingly high, cost of Covid-19 protection gears is skyrocketing, internet connection is a disaster etc. So, what else is new? Maybe it is time to make that change!

For Juan Dela Cruz, government must lead the way. The government continues to ignore the call of our jeepney, bus and tricycle drivers, our market vendors, our daily minimum wage earners, our agency workers etc. not to mention small to large businesses and industries. Our OFWs who come home are met with stringent and confusing protocols. Our teachers are suffering from trying to cope with a new educational platform. Our business establishments are patiently waiting for government to give the go signal for them to start their business running again.

Government must be ahead of the game. They must be very clear and more than ever, efficient. Sadly, they are not. Our leaders lack foresight. Their myopic kind of thinking has brought more chaos, confusion and indifference among the citizens. I hate to say it but whenever we listen to the president’s weekly assembly of cabinet secretaries, it is like they are speaking and yes we can hear words coming out from their mouths but the words don’t make sense or have no meaning to Juan Dela Cruz. I guess it is because we want to hear issues that affect our lives rather than a barrage of information that we cannot relate to. Let’s not waste airtime for a technical cabinet meeting. Talk to the people instead.

Since we cannot rely solely on government, we must continue to march forward and never quit. Don’t give up. Just stay on track and do your best. It’s a matter of survival. Imagine a businessman who suddenly quits in the middle of the game? What will happen to his fortune? Well, I’m not actually talking of finances but more his capital assets, his workers and their families. It will be a negative domino effect if everyone suddenly decides to quit.

After taking a hit from the coronavirus, Gold’s Gym has permanently closed 30 of its gyms. The US fitness chain filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in May in an effort to “facilitate the financial restructuring of the company.” The same is true with J.C. Penny; Hertz; Diamond Offshore Drilling; Frontier Commnications, a high speed internet company; Intelsat; J. Crew, the New York apparel company; John Varvatos Enterprises, a menswear brand; Neiman Marcus, the luxury department store; stage stores, the company which operates department stores under brands such as Gordmans, Bealls and Goody’s; True Religion Apparel, the denim retailer; Ultra Petroleum, the energy company; Virgin Australia, Australia’s second-biggest airline; and many more.

Back home, we all know that the government has not really provided anything in the “Bayanihan Heal as One Act” to help small businesses. These are the so-called micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) that account for 99.6 percent of the nearly one million businesses in the country. According to statistics these businesses employ 61.6 percent of the total number of employed. Although no company in the country has filed for bankruptcy, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said that a total of 2,068 companies have closed, displacing 69,022 workers.

Here’s praying for our survival. And when everything seems to fail, just do your best and don’t quit.

JOHN GREENLEAF WHITTIER
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