Licking this thing should be the only focus
TO THE QUICK - Jerry Tundag (The Freeman) - July 3, 2020 - 12:00am

It’s easy to understand why people see so many things going wrong or not coming up to expectations. That’s because so many things are indeed going wrong and not coming up to expectations. But then again, what’s there to expect? Nobody saw this pandemic coming. Nobody has a blueprint on how to deal with it. Not China where it all started. Not the United States which is being hit hardest.

That people are agonizing and losing so many things doesn’t justify finger-pointing, no matter how tempting and delicious it may be to do so. The only thing finger-pointing achieves is to release pent-up emotions or massage bruised egos. But it doesn’t really change anything. Life as we knew it is no longer the same. At least for now. And, at least for now, all people can really do is count figures, bitch about passes, and barter plants.

Ah, the figures. COVID-19 will be among us for a while. It’s pointless to get all screwed up in the stomach at each uptick in new cases. Let’s accept the inevitability that cases will continue to rise for some time. One new case is still an increase as is a hundred. What we must look out for and guard against is the number of deaths overtaking recoveries. Right now recoveries are way ahead. Let's keep it that way.

ECQ passes? A lot of questions surround the passes. But yet again it’s nobody’s fault that there are slip-ups in some of their aspects. We’re all drowning right now in this health crisis and it helps no one if, as the character of Jack Nicholson in "As Good as it Gets" complains, all people can do is describe the water. Instead of bitching, pitch in.

So if it isn’t too late, in case there’s a need to issue new passes yet again, my humble unsolicited suggestion is this: Every household in Cebu City SHOULD be given one ECQ pass without exception. Based on the 2015 census, there should roughly be only 220,000 households in the city at this time. This number can and should be divided into three, corresponding to three pass colors, say Red, Yellow, and Blue.

Dividing 220,000 household by three colors, there should then only be about 74,000 passes each in Red, Yellow, and Blue. To allow each household reasonable time outside to buy essentials, each color pass is allowed two days per week to do so. Example: Red, Mondays and Thursdays; Yellow, Tuesdays and Fridays; Blue, Wednesdays and Saturdays. No one is allowed out on Sundays.

If this is done, there should only be 74,000 people who can be out in the streets of Cebu City on any given day except Sunday. I think 74,000 is a very manageable number. As a bonus, every household gets to have a pass, which is how it should be. It does away with charges of discrimination. More importantly, it adheres to protocols on sanitation and distancing, as sharing of passes, which is risky and unhealthy, is eliminated.

This helps make people stop complaining and engage in more wholesome activities like planting or collecting and bartering plants, a phenomenon spawned by the quarantine. It helps take the angst out of people and frees up our embattled and harassed officials and frontliners to focus on the things they should be doing instead of getting distracted by unnecessary and unhelpful noise.

* * *

Congratulations to Chester Cokaliong, founder, CEO, and COO of Cokaliong Shipping Lines, and to the Cokaliong Family, their staff and employees, on the blessing and inauguration tomorrow of the latest addition to their ever-expanding fleet. The MV Filipinas Mindanao goes into service as the 14th and biggest RO-RO vessel of the company, which has consistently reaped numerous awards for safety, efficiency, and cleanliness.

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