LETTERS FROM DAVAO
By Jun Ledesma
Davao City getting out of the woods
STRICT implementation of health protocols and restrictions against Covid-19 is all that is needed to control the spike of Covid-19 cases in Davao City. For now, the earlier proposal to place 35 barangays under lockdown had been set aside. The culprit it is turning out was the lifting of curfew and the liquor ban.
We were not in this situation before. While Davao City has its share of Covid-19 cases, rarely do we see these going beyond 30 and recovery was high. It was not a difficult decision to lift restrictions to rev up the local economy and for many to be re-employed.
What happened was people imbibed too much alcohol they can handle and when drunk threw away all precautions in the air. Without curfew “barkadas” roamed the streets and in many slum dwellings where space is cramp infections, just like among drunkards, is a certainty. No masks and no social distancing. Pretty foolish things that Dabawenyos committed against what was an attempt at self-regulation that failed. Add to that is the stupid defiance of some barangay officials against the Mayor’s order banning cockfighting and we are on the way to beating other cities nationwide in the number of Covid-19 cases reported daily.
Davao City Mayor Inday Sara Duterte-Carpio had restored all restrictions. The day before the Executive Order took effect, alcoholics shamelessly rushed to the malls and bought all the liquors from the shelves lest they ran out of stock ‘til Christmas. Ergo the drinking goes on.
Thus, we Dabawenyos have to endure the limitation of movements. While there may be no lockdowns, residents will face stricter rules and regulations to contain Covid-19 infections. This means until a vaccine against the deadly virus is made available, there will be no second round of intoxicating spirits anymore and the curfew is here to stay.
And the iron lady in Mayor Inday Sara cracks the whip. Wear that mask and face shield properly and no non-essential travel will be allowed. Simple appeal actually, but those who are defiant will pay PHP500 for the first offense, P2,000 for the second offense, and P5,000 for the third offense plus one-month free accommodation in the city jail.
While she is at it, the good mayor should include business establishments that fail to enforce the health protocols on their clients. Field barangay police to take pictures of non-compliant establishments to include ambulant vendors where protocols are not observed, issue a penalty letter, and attach the photos taken of the establishment. The penalty should be stiffer, of course.
In the meantime, Davao City braces for a clean-up drive. Mass testing of people who had contacts with COVID positive patients in every barangay.
Residents see Mayor Inday Sara meant business. There are anti-Covid teams checking on every traveler. If compliance among residents becomes a habit then maybe our Christmas may still be merry, subdued but merry. We will get out of the woods for certain but I, for one, hope the inveterate drunkards do not forget Covid-19 has not gone away.
About the Columnist
Mr. Jun Ledesma is a community journalist who writes from Davao City and comments from the perspective of a Mindanaoan.