IT IS not fun and funny anymore. Our government is spending millions of pesos to fight the unseen enemy, Novel Coronavirus Acute Respiratory Disease (nCoV ARD). This could be an over-reaction to some politicians who went into grilling the top officials of our Department of Health.
Health specialists said that when China sneezed nCoV, the world panicked. For military strategists, this could be some sort of unintentional biochemical warfare launched by China. For businessmen, this is economic disaster. For religious leaders, this could be a punishment for the sinful world. For the environmentalists, this is the wrath of mother nature.
With millions of pesos being spent or prepared by our government, we can sometimes say that over-reaction is good. By targeting nCoV, we also become conscious that in our country there are also other killer diseases: tuberculosis, HIV, dengue fever and even malnutrition are big threats.
It all goes down to the idea that we are susceptible to these health problems because of poverty, poorly managed environment, and terrible corruption in this country. In king’s understanding, we are not ready for this because of our negligence on so many things. That makes us very Filipino.
We blamed China for having some places there that are “very dirty” and some Chinese daring to eat “forbidden creatures” like bats, snakes and rats. Dirty places and unfit sources of food could breed viruses; virion (infection of the cell), adenovirus/rhinovirus (respiratory infections), arbovirus (insect-borne virus) and more.
We condemned dirty places in China and the dirty eating habits of some Chinese. The dice have been thrown and nCoV is already here. Our national and local governments have allocated millions of pesos. For God’s sake, can we review our environment after we have made condemnation to what happened to China? This could just be a revenge of mother nature.
Are our public markets clean? How do we justify clogged up drainage that breed rats and cockroaches? Is there an assurance that our slaughter houses have class “A” facilities. Are our “carinderias” and sidewalk eateries observing health and sanitation rules? We would like to democratically coerce our health inspectors to do their job.
We have the slums and houses along the rivers, streams and creeks. Do they have comfort rooms fit for human Filipinos? The ‘dirt’ they are throwing away will simply go to the shorelines to feed the fish. Our fishermen will catch the fish, sea shells, and weeds to be sold to us in the public market.
Look at our rivers and shorelines, they are loaded with garbage of all kinds. The water emits foul odor that is inhaled everyday by river bank dwellers. They cannot complain because our government is not ready for relocation sites. What they got were sweet promises during election season.
In the Philippines, we have the Clean Air Act that mandates we cannot burn our sugarcane fields and the drivers of the smoke-belching vehicles will be apprehended. These are just good in the papers. Look at the chimneys of our sugar mills. They have not been modernized. The used water of the mills pollutes our rivers.
Our garbage dumping sites are not properly attended. There are only few LGUs that met the partial requirements. We have a law that orders the mayors to strictly comply or else they will go to jail. This sounds nice but it is always overlooked. If there are visitors coming to our country, we hide the street children who are eating food from the garbage cans.
If our government and the Filipinos will not act on our basic environmental concerns now, time will come that we will be breeding and sending also a kind of deadly virus from the Philippines. We can no longer say, “Come and experience the Philippines.” Shall we wait for that day?