THE "new normal" in pandemic times, after the lifting of ECQ, as delineated by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Covid-19 of President Duterte reflects "quick, faulty thinking." It reflects a lack of processing and informed decision-making in pandemic times. For while the mode has been established worldwide, that seniors are among the most vulnerable to Covid-19, the data also indicates that this holds true for those who have pre-existing deadly chronic diseases like cancer, heart disease, upper respiratory ailments, hypertension, and diabetes. While these chronic deadly diseases are prevalent in the Philippines, their incidence is not confined to ages 65-75 age group alone. Owing to the modern-day Pinoy diet, salty, high in sugar and fat, even younger age groups have high stats on the chronic deadly diseases -- a reason why there is a significant percentage of middle-aged Pinoys who have died of Covid-19 as well.

So, one's being a senior does not automatically mean one has a higher probability than a younger Pinoy to be infected with Covid-19. The critical factor here is the state and wellness of the individual -- whether he/she has pre-existing deadly chronic diseases (as listed above) or not, has a reasonably nutritious diet, and not subject to high pressured living.

A serious implication of the blanket extension of quarantine for seniors is that they are the "weaker age sector" physically and mentally in matters of decision making about keeping precautionary measures against Covid-19. This is far from truth. In fact, no less than the World Health Organization (WHO) classified the 65-75 age group under its revised age categorization, as the new middle age group. Reaching 60, and living beyond does not in any way imply automatic slowing down of body and mind.

My older sister, now aged 73, remains active as university professor and associate dean for International and Minority (Disadvantaged) Students Program at the University of Minnesota. A close associate in the academe, an economist and founder of Social Weather Station (SWS) writes a regular column with a leading national daily, so does an octogenarian good friend, founder of the Asian Institute of Journalism and Communication in rival news daily. Yet another friend, in her early 70s remain active as a research consultant, mover, advisor of a professional association, the Management Association of the Philippines and scientific associations.

Undeniably here in our country, and abroad, seniors fulfill vital, manifold roles in society. Under a regime of questionable loyalty and ethos, to a growing number of discerning Pinoys, under siege by dark forces, seniors fill in the prevalent poverty of knowledge, wisdom and counsel. It is indeed sad that under pandemic times, competent senior medical experts that have retired like former DOH officials like the grassroots-oriented doctor, Dr. Jimmy Tan, have not been brought to serve as part of the Council of Elders on Pandemic Management.

Clearly, DOH, IATEC and the present administration, cannot determine what is most secure health policy against Covid-19. Truth is, seniors do not comprise a homogeneous class -a significant number of seniors are into health and wellness, and are more fit and resilient than none-seniors. I am a senior myself, beyond 65, but I have never been as active in alternative real estate development -- e.g. the ideation and operationalization of an ecological memorial park, natural healing farm for stressed, burnout, depressed individuals, and food security of Dumaan laborers. I am also columnist and host of a weekly Cable TV program (up for new season contract), as well as an entrepreneur. Given the high social import of my social engagements, I cannot remain on "remote control " management, one which I have dutifully carried out under the Enhanced Community Quarantine. I cannot, and refuse to be lumped under generic seniors house arrest under the general community quarantine.

As a matter of health risk management policy, only seniors who have pre-existing conditions of chronic diseases should be subjected to quarantine.