By Jun Ledesma

Don’t taunt a Duterte

TO obey or to defy, that is the option. Whether it is sane to suffer the slings and arrows of the ‘stay home’ order and by opposing we will all stay longer locked in our homes. This could have been the question posed by the bard of Avon if he were alive today.

Across the archipelagic divide the obedience of the majority to the call of Pres. Rodrigo Roa Duterte is taunted and challenged by a bunch of bull-headed and insolent characters in high and low places. My family have confined ourselves for more than a month now in obeisance to the call for self-quarantine and then later in response to enhanced community quarantine. My family lives in Davao but I have children and relatives residing in various places in Metro Manila. My heart bleeds seeing them in the confines of their homes. We keep each other company by exchanging pleasantries and thank you for Facetime and several applications that make conversations free.

It enraged us to see the utter disregard of the President's appeal to stay home. We are appalled by the number of people found positive of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and the number of deaths each day. There is no cure in sight and the only solution is to deprive the coronavirus disease of a human host. Thus the order to stay home. But we have not learned a lesson from China. Thousands had been infected in China and absolute lockdowns were the only option to control the spread and infection and the gloomy death statistics. They succeeded. Across Europe and the United States of America, however, the grim ripper continues to claim thousands of lives. The proud and mighty nations refused to limit their freedom of movement as the ‘stay home’ order is an affront to their human rights. Sounds familiar. We have members of the political opposition who resonates the same refrain amidst the number of dead that cannot be accommodated in crematoria.

New York, the city that never sleeps, hundreds are dying every day. Politicians from different spectrums are still in a stupid political divide while New Yorkers are partying. In Michigan, which accounts for the 3rd highest death toll in the US its citizens armed themselves and demonstrate their defiance against the Governor’s order to stay home.

But we Filipinos, have a share of defiant and hard-headed people who can still afford to hold cockfights either overtly or covertly, openly gamble with the money extended to them by the government, oblivious to social distancing and the rich driving out of their homes clogging highways at the time when they are supposed to be in quarantine.

And so the number of COVID-19 positive cases increases every day.

In Davao City, Mayor Inday Sara Duterte-Carpio had altogether banned cockfighting in the City. For motorists who still ventures to go out of their homes despite the 6 pm-to-6 am curfew, she ordered the police to put up barricades in major thoroughfares using armored carrier and backhoes. In not a few instances, she rides her big bike at night to go after violators and sleeping cops. It’s virtual martial law in Davao but we are happy with the discipline and the atmosphere of health security that pervades now. I am confident that we will soon be out of the woods.

I am amazed by the temperate move of the elder Duterte for he still earnestly appeal to the violators to “please stay home”. this, despite the growing number of people urging him to just impose martial law to address the obstinacy of offenders. Knowing him for the number of years he was Mayor of Davao, my only piece of advice to Metro Manilans: don’t taunt the President. You might get what you do not wish for.




About the Columnist

Image of Jun Ledesma

Mr. Jun Ledesma is a community journalist who writes from Davao City and comments from the perspective of a Mindanaoan.