Unite we must
PERSPECTIVE - Cherry Piquero-Ballescas (The Freeman) - February 1, 2020 - 12:00am

Unity is the only option we have in our battle against viruses, global warming, and other present challenges.

Divided, we fail and fall. United, we stand triumphant.

The global community is now rushing to learn more about the rapidly spreading new coronavirus as deaths continue to increase.

The World Health Organization is intently monitoring whether to declare a global epidemic or not. Countries are hurrying to protect their people and their borders.

Sadly, in Cebu, rather than send the arrivals back to China, the Chinese passengers shall be quarantined up to 14 days!

Why this policy? Who will pay for the expenses during this quarantine period? Who will supervise the quarantine area?

Why welcome the threat? What if these arrivals are confirmed for 2019-nCoV?

What protection and insurance will be given to the Filipinos ordered to watch and monitor those in quarantine? How will the local government deal with confirmed cases? How will the people of Cebu be protected?

At least as of Thursday afternoon a temporary travel ban has been issued.

We are very concerned that this Chinese patient is now being treated in a government hospital where many poor Filipinos who cannot afford the high costs of better-quality hospital service go. Who will protect the Filipinos in this hospital?

Must we wait for more confirmed cases before the government will proactively be more protective of our people?

Now is an opportune time for Filipinos to unite to protect our people and our country from this virus!

Unity is our only option as well to fight global warming. Today is the start of the second month of 2020. This means we have only 10 months, nine years left to race against global warming and its dire impacts. Everyone, everywhere, within our country and all throughout the world, will have to unite and synchronize all initiatives to limit global temperature to 1.5C.

Countries that are on track in fulfilling their Paris Agreement targets will need to unite and apply stronger pressure to have all other countries take the same agreed path toward the 1.5C target. Can countries unite to save this planet?

Within countries, all sectors will also need to harmonize their work to protect people and nature. While it is heartwarming to see so many doing splendid work to uplift the lives of many and to protect the environment, now is the time for unity and integration of all engagements and initiatives.

Doing so will allow all to move confidently forward, battling and winning the race against viruses, climate change, and other challenges together. Uniting efforts together will also ensure no one is left behind. All for one, one for all!

Taking a very laudable precious step towards uniting with all to protect people and planet, Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, through Cebu Archdiocesan Commission on Environmental Concern, has gathered priests and lay leaders from 160 parishes, representatives from the academe, business, civil society and local government units to its first convention on climate emergency.

The two-day convention asked the participants to take a journey together, dialogue, and with hope, act together in the face of climate emergency.

Cebu awaits those “gifted to give” to unite and take their next synchronized steps together for their mission for the environment, for people, and for God.


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