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Davao City, Philippines

LGUs’ leniency not a good sign

March 26, 2020 - Thursday 4:03 AM by Jimmy Laking

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Despite President Duterte’s order for a nationwide enhanced community quarantine, it appears that some local government units have been lenient in implementing lockdown.

The spike in the number of PUIs (persons under investigation) in the municipalities is proof that one way or the other, some LGUs on the ground level have dropped their guards in allowing cross-border movements of people.

One who knows whereof he speaks said that in his municipality alone, bill collectors from merchandisers to services were a common sight despite the partial lockdown.

His feedback is that barangay officials manning the checkpoints are not firm in preventing bill collectors and traders from going in and out of their destinations.

Bribery is ruled out. Probably because they do not understand the seriousness of the COVID-19 threat fully, some barangay officials think it would not hurt to lift the barriers once in a while.

Meanwhile, the number of persons confirmed positive of the virus has risen to six in Davao Region. That is, the number of persons tested to be positive of the virus has risen to six.

This does not speak of the whole picture. We do not like to sound alarming but it is safe to assume the figure does not include those probably positive of coronavirus but have not been tested yet. How many are out there, only God alone knows.

Even the Department of Health (DOH) indicates there is no knowing the full extent of virus infestation. The other day, DOH spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergeire spoke of a “second upsurge” in COVID-19 cases, a concession that the situation may not likely improve but probably worsen once the true extent of infestation is known.

Worldwide the pandemic in fact is accelerating, according to WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebrevesus on Monday. Barely a day after he spoke, the number of coronavirus cases worldwide was nearing 400,000 with 17,000 having died of COVID-19.

The Philippines as of this writing has 552 confirmed cases, with at least 35 deaths.

The only defense as governments in Europe, the United States, and Asia have emphasized is to stay home. And to work safely if it can be done.

In and out of homes, the advice is to practice social distancing.

“Far apart physically, but not socially,” WHO stressed.
North of Baguio City where the roads are few and far between, some LGUs have literally sealed off the roads with truckloads of boulders and mud in their interpretation of a lockdown.

It seemed to be effective because images shared on social media showed the roads bereft of moving vehicles or people.

La Trinidad, my mother’s hometown, has imposed strict curfew and imposed a three-day a week (done alternately) for residents to do their marketing.

The other question that is shared worldwide is “how soon will things get back to normal?”

In a matter of weeks, those countries who are implementing strict lockdown would most likely get over it.

But for countries whose implementation of the measure is shot through with halls, it would be a different story.

What part of the lockdown makes it hard for some LGUs to understand?