Seares: Cebu Capitol’s metaphor on breaking away from CQs: a kind of freedom

News Sense

WHEN Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia set June 12, Philippine independence day, as the date for the transition of Cebu Province from CCQ or general community quarantine, she must have picked it to symbolize what she has been talking about during the past few days or weeks: “freedom.”

Obviously, freedom from the quarantine of any category, CQ of any form, lockdown of any sort.

The modified general quarantine (MGCQ) that she and the mayors of the province prepared for during a meeting last Saturday, May 30, is supposed to be the last “shackle” that would lead to freedom from fear.

We are not free of the pandemic yet but we can shed off some fear of it. That seems to underlie the Capitol’s stance.

Initial fear

That fear was there when last March 25, Guv Gwen called for a “stringent approach” in enforcing enhanced

quarantine guidelines.

The fear drove her “fixation” to tighten watch at airports, seal borders with Cebu City (which she called the “epicenter” of the scourge), and publicly warn and scold violators.

The fear prevailed when the Provincial Board passed on March 30 an ordinance laying down prohibitions to contain the spread of Covid-19 and when the governor repeatedly harped on the several bans, which, as of April 13, led to the arrest of at least 40 persons in the province.

Change of wind

Then the wind changed, the view shifted.

Mostly in the second half of May, the governor must have cast away that fear, admitting that like most of the world, she had been hounded by fright when confronted with the unknown.

She began to talk about ending the quarantine, the need to come out from home and shelter, and resume business and social activities, even community prayer.


Her concept of ECQ changed to ECD, from enhanced community quarantine to enhanced community development. From berating Facebook/Twitter critics of quarantine enforcers to cajoling leaders of business and industry in the province to refocus interest, forget tourism for awhile and step up corn and rice planting.

The reason: the numbers, the data provided by the information from hospitals, health centers and health workers who have tracked down and recorded for study (along with juicy gossip about women with backless blouse and multiple kids). And, of course, how the numbers are being interpreted as to the chances of surviving the contagion.

Less of a menace

Guv Gwen is convinced that the figures on new cases, death rate, recoveries, along with data on illnesses and deaths from preexisting diseases, would make Covid-19 less of the menace that the world has feared.

The Department of Health or anyone from the Inter-Agency Task Force on Managing Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) has not said so in express terms but note this: The virus seems to be not as scary to them now as they were before in the first two months.

It could be due to the lull, at least to us in Cebu and similar parts of the country. It could be due to sheer exhaustion. As Choy Torralba, in “Tug-ani ang Lungsod” on dyRF radio, would say the Cebuano-Bisaya adage, “Kon mahutdan naka sa kahadlok, ang kaisog na la’y mahabilin.”

On some of our terms

Capitol has seemed over-eager to move over to MGCQ even though the province and the rest of Cebu are still officially GCQ. That must tell us something about losing fear by force of reason or product of wordplay.

True, conditions are not the same. Density of population and urban blight have placed Cebu City, Mandaue City and Lapu-Lapu City at a big disadvantage in coping with Covid-19. But the faster move makes sense.

Capitol in effect says it’s time to deal with the plague on some of our own terms.

Yet courage does not have to evict caution.


SunStar website welcomes friendly debate, but comments posted on this site do not necessarily reflect the views of the SunStar management and its affiliates. SunStar reserves the right to delete, reproduce or modify comments posted here without notice. Posts that are inappropriate will automatically be deleted.

Forum rules:

Do not use obscenity. Some words have been banned. Stick to the topic. Do not veer away from the discussion. Be coherent. Do not shout or use CAPITAL LETTERS!