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Opinion

Protect yourselves and all even more

PERSPECTIVE - Cherry Piquero Ballescas - The Freeman

The sun is still out while I am typing this article Friday morning. The darker clouds have started to cover the blue sky. The trees, however, are already swaying with the strong winds.

Please stay vigilant, brace, and prepare to protect yourselves, your families, your homes even more now that Pag-asa has warned about a typhoon to hit Cebu on Saturday!

If only all barangays and sitio/purok by now have their DRRM (Disaster Relief and Rehabilitation Management) team and contingencies ready, tested, and operational, then, we can expect more, if not all residents and communities, to be safe and protected against any type of disaster.

If only these community-level DRRM teams and networks are all ready by now, before, during and after any disaster. For example, flood management will have already been done regularly, residents alert, vigilant, and protected after several disaster emergency drills and practices, all preparations and resources checked!

Sadly, such level and quality of preparedness are not yet in our midst. But surely, certainly, we can do better, right?

Each past and present emergency should allow us to do better and prepare more effectively for future disasters. As a nation, we need to more wisely and more reflectively approach and prepare for any emergency and disaster.

What can we Filipinos do individually, as a household, as a community, as a city, as a province, as a whole nation to better protect one and all during disasters?

Ideally, by now, everyone, even young schoolchildren should already know what to do should different types of disasters strike. In practice, however, in reality, we are still not there in terms of preparation and response.

Rather than look back, engage in pinpointing and stop at wishes, from today, shall we start doing our responsible share where we are to manage disasters more effectively as individuals, as households, as communities, as a country?

Please start where you are now.

Do you think government can step up and in an inclusive, participatory manner, ensure that all preparations, facilities, personnel, evacuation centers, funds are all in before, during, and after disasters?

Ah, wish lang natin no?

However, can we not proactively turn that wish and immediately demand now na, for government, local and national, to implement that much-needed effective, coordinated, comprehensive, inclusive, participatory response and governance for disasters? And please add, also for the pandemic?

As if the news about the incoming typhoon was not alarming enough, last February 18, DOH-7 confirmed that “the Philippine Genome Center has detected a COVID-19 “variant of concern" in Cebu City.”

Even as more research needs to establish the type, origin, transmission, and intensity of the variant, we are all certain that in time Cebu will not be spared from the influx of variants.

Why?

Would we all like to do a reality check about how the local government is responding to COVID-19?

Shall we also do an honest check about how we and the public and private sectors are behaving in containing or not containing COVID-19?

Plastic face shields that should be worn properly to cover the face are carelessly placed like headbands, exposing the nose that urgently needs to be covered!

And the masks? Oh sure, everyone has one, especially at inspection points. However, notice how many masks are down, below noses, thoughtlessly, uselessly, and easily exposing wearers and others to the virus!

Sure, people think they are following the health protocols but are they really wearing their face shields and masks correctly?

Sure, we want the economy/business to proceed but are businesses and government strictly complying/monitoring correct compliance for wearing of masks/shields and other protocols?

Everyone has to work together to protect each other!

DISASTER

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