Dealing with commandos

VERBAL VARIETY - Annie Fe Perez (The Freeman) - June 30, 2020 - 12:00am

More than a hundred elite Special Action Force commandos arrived in Cebu last week to augment the current local police force that we have in order to implement quarantine protocols. When the President said we are hard-headed (gahi'g ulo), of course I scoffed. I'm a Cebuano but not hard-headed. However, when I roamed the interior streets of the city, I understood what he meant.

There were people roaming around as if there is no pandemic. A lot did not wear face masks which is a very basic thing to do now with COVID-19. I honestly felt like I was in a new world, a world with the old normal was. Something we have all been longing. It is unfair because many of us have sacrificed so much to put protocols in place but here they are, doing nothing to stop the spread of the virus. On Saturday night, several were seen doing a procession of a patron saint and even dancing. They weren't apprehended as the authorities were already too late to respond to this mass gathering but they promised to track down whoever was behind the event.

If the mindset of everyone is that there is no more fear of the virus that brings COVID-19, then we will continue to be under an enhanced community quarantine status. This means we will have to endure more days of limited movement and not being able to continue businesses. ECQ would mean longer police deployment and more checkpoints that would take time. I just had a bad experience with the border checkpoints into the city because of this increased security -- we had to endure an hour and a half of traffic just to get in the city! This would continue on if we will not follow rules.

How hard is it to just stay put? With a quick privilege check, I could say that I could indeed live in my house for weeks without going out. However, the situation in Cebu City is different. They need food to eat and things to do, others are also misinformed. They need to be bombarded with the right information on the harm of the virus. I personally think that they don't know the extent of COVID-19 because some of them who test positive don't feel anything at all. That is why there is no need to fear it. We must dispel this wrong information and let them understand why it is important to follow protocols.

To know if the show of force by the SAF commandos and military personnel is effective will be known if the cases in Cebu City will lessen. But as I write, the numbers are shooting up. With national intervention and all eyes on the city, I guess we should all respect the government's efforts. This is indeed a hard battle to fight but we can be one with the authorities if we do our part. Stay at home and stay have.

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