PEOPLE talk about...

[1] THE NUMBERS "8" AND "24" on the jersey belonging to Los Angeles Lakers player Kobe Bryant, which were hung inside Staples Center since he retired. Unavoidably, some radio broadcasters cited the numbers in their lotto tip barely disguised in their commentary or adlib. Bryant has become a part of most conversations since news of his death and eight others, including one of his daughters, in a helicopter crash Sunday in California, USA.

[2] "15-MINUTE FAME" IN THE NEWS for (a) the Danao criminology student who wiped paint laced with his saliva on faces of Sinulog revelers and (b) the "wang-wang boy" who used a siren in his car to call attention of people to himself.

What gave them away: boasting about their dubious feat on Facebook. Both surrendered and expressed regrets. They had what Andy Warhol called their 15 minutes of fame.

What drove them to do it

The criminology student from Danao City who slapped paint mixed with saliva on Sinulog revelers said he was just overwhelmed by the festivity, carried away by the fiesta spirit and energy. The college student from Lapu-Lapu City who used a siren on his vehicle said he was curious about the experience.

No physical injury or death or damage to property resulted from their pranks. The "painter" was still to be charged; the Danao City Council before whom he appeared had to decide on the sanction. The "wangwang boy" was slapped by LTO with an P8,000 fine.

Girl in 'wangwang' car

The girl who was with the college student who experimented on his car's siren was reportedly the daughter of the Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard Chan. The "wangwang body" gallantly refused to identify his companion in the car, saying he was "not interested to tell everyone" as to who was his passenger. He admitted though that they are friends. Some netizens were quick to say it was Mayor Chan's daughter. But does Ahong have a daughter? One available bio of Chan lists only a son: "Cedric Junard."

No direct flights to Wuhan

The Mactan-Cebu International Airport has direct flights to and from seven airports of China (Guanghou, Xiamen, Jinjiang, Chengdu, Shanghai, Shenshen Nanjing and Hangzhou) but none with Wuhan City. Or so the managers of MC airport tell the public.

That would be comforting if nobody from Wuhan, who'd escape the reported lockdown there, would fly to Mactan through any of the flights from seven airports with which MCIAA connects. They need to consider not just the planes flying out of Wuhan but also of people who have been to Wuhan and use flights from other points in China to get to Cebu.

Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Chan made that plain enough when he referred to neighboring cities of Wuhan from which those probably infected with the virus in Wuhan could fly to his city. The mayor Tuesday (January 28) called on the Department of Health to consider banning direct flights to Mactan from neighboring cities of Wuhan, which is considered the original source of 2019 novel coronavirus or 2019-nCoV.

MCDCB's job?

The coronavirus threat brings into bold relief the need for coordination among the governor and mayors of Cebu. They need to agree among themselves whether to have a ban on Chinese tourists or tourists from China (which, technically, are not the same) and how to go about it.

Cebu City Mayor Edgar Labella is reportedly considering and is ready to impose a ban on Chinese tourists. Cebu Governor Gwen is also getting the facts first before imposing the ban. Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Chan has already called for DOH to consider enforcing the ban by initially cancelling direct flights from China.

Mayor Ahong is less assertive but maybe more practical. He doesn't have the hard data that the national agencies have. And it is the national agencies that have the resources to enforce any ban.

Still, the local leaders need to compare notes. Is this the job of the Mega Cebu Development and Coordinating Board (MCDCB), even if its anointment by enactment of law is still pending in Congress?


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