CEBU

Briones: A game of chance

On the go

REALITY has struck Mambaling Barangay Captain Gines Abellana in the face.

In dealing with the situation in Sitio Alaska, which has been placed on lockdown since several hundred cases of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) were recorded in the area, he is resigned to the fact that many residents are not complying with the stay-at-home order.

Many of them, he said, cannot even fit inside their houses probably because these were never designed to accommodate all of them at the same time. Also, it has just been too hot, forcing some of them to sleep outside, he added.

To those who are reacting in utter disgust, let me just say this, not everyone lives in a proper house with a nice roof over their head or have airconditioned rooms and spacious living rooms.

Many, especially those in squatter areas, are crammed like sardines in one single room that doesn’t even have proper ventilation. Cebu’s hot and humid weather certainly doesn’t help their situation.

By the way, some of you might find my use of the word “squatter” offensive or politically incorrect, but calling them “informal settlers” won’t change their living condition or improve their suffering any bit.

I just prefer to call a spade a spade.

Anyway, Abellana said the mayor turned down his suggestion to lift the lockdown in Sitio Alaska so they would only be feeding the people housed in the isolation center and not the thousands who currently call the sitio home.

However, he said the mayor also assured him the City Government would help the barangay.

Abellana is being practical, I see that. He knows the barangay cannot afford to feed all those for an extended period of time. He also knows that living conditions in the area contributed to the spread of the disease. And, as he pointed out, majority of those who tested positive for Covid-19 are asymptomatic.

He is willing to live with the consequences of lifting the lockdown. Yes, more people will get infected. That’s a no brainer. But he is willing to bet that many of them will be okay.

The barangay official is quite brave to admit that. After all, he’s talking about people’s lives.

But from the way I see it, this is the new normal.

Although many will be infected, many of the infected will not get sick. That’s what figures from the Department of Health-Central Visayas have so far shown.

There may come a time when the government will be forced to take a similar chance.


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