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Davao City, Philippines

Emergency and stubbornness

March 23, 2020 - Monday 6:03 PM by Allan Nawal

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Many Filipinos have called for a total lockdown of the country as soon as the first coronavirus disease 2019 case was reported but the government – considering its implications – calibrated its response.

When it finally did decide to implement a lockdown, initially in Luzon, the people started complaining.

“What will I do? How will I survive without a job?” they asked. Others insisted on traveling to other areas when the principle of the lockdown is to limit mobility so that the spread of the virus would also be halted.

This was the predicament that government officials face everyday.

For example, in the Davao Region, people would not be deterred by the lockdown and continued to move around, converge, or even go places even if it is not important.

Mayor Sara Duterte was already so furious at the non-compliance that she even threatened to slap violators once she comes out of home quarantine.

The reality, Mayor Sara said, is that the lockdown depends on the attitude and compliance of residents of the Davao Region. It could shorten or prolong the lockdown aimed at fighting the spread of the COVID-19.

"The success of the quarantine would depend on the compliance of the people, and they should understand that we need to put the cycle of the disease to a halt,” she said in an interview over the city-run Davao City Disaster Radio on Sunday.

Mayor Sara cited reports of non-compliance as worsening the situation.

"The spread of the virus depends on the attitude of the people. If they follow, it would be easier to stop the spread of the disease. But if they don't, it would really take us a long time," she added.

Obviously exasperated at the stubbornness of some people, Mayor Sara said non-compliance with the 14-day enhanced quarantine, which started on March 19, could worsen the spread of the disease and it would mean the lockdown would also be prolonged.

She said two cases of community-transmitted COVID-19 cases would prompt the extension of the lockdown.

“It could last for two months or more,” she added.

Indeed, in these crucial times, the last thing we need is stubbornness.

First, the disease does not put any distinction between people.

It doesn't only infect the stubborn ones.

When a hard-headed resident gets infected, he or she will bring the disease home and eventually spread it to the community.

To critics, Mayor Sara's threat to slap hard-headed residents sounded off but it reflected how desperate she is and other officials to fight the spread of the contagion.

This enemy indeed should be dealt with with full cooperation.

If we stay stubborn, all the efforts put in place would be useless.

As in a dragon boat race, if we row in opposite directions, we will never reach our destination.

Our officials are there to make us move as one.

In a choral group or symphony/orchestra, they could be likened to the conductor.

The music really depends on the players.

The delivery of the music really depends on the players. It will sound good if they follow the conductor and they will sound bad if they don't.