CEBU

Seares: Tomas's anti-Covid plan; news site slipped on ECQ; CCMC money piggy-backs on anti-virus budget

The Short of It

How ex-mayor would fight it

'DETAILED STRATEGY' ON SENIORS' MEDS. Former Cebu City mayor Tomas Osmeña suggests his "long-life program," which is premised on assuring maintenance medicines to selected persons, mostly seniors, by delivering them at their doorstep every day. The courier reminds the patient to take his meds and if the recipient doesn't feel well, the information is relayed to the health center. By the end of his term, Tomas O. says in a June 19 letter to CDN, 40,000 residents benefited from his program. He says Mayor Labella fired the 800 couriers (who were each paid P100 for 50 deliveries a day).

His "detailed strategy" against the virus is apparently about strengthening the immune system of the vulnerable elderly and the sick. Tomas doesn't say the couriers' visits also remind the beneficiaries day after day who their benefactor is.

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Oops, news media's mistake

PROMPT ADMISSION, CORRECTION. Philstar.com, which posted the story from its broadsheet The Star, ran this correction as Editor's Note at dawn Friday, June 19:

"The article titled 'Entire Central Visayas placed under ECQ' is no longer hosted by Philstar.com. Originally published by broadsheet THE STAR, the article mistakenly reported that Health Undersecretary Rosario Vergeire declared that Region 7 is under enhanced community quarantine over the coronavirus epidemic. No such pronouncement was made. Only Cebu City remains under lockdown or ECQ." The article has already been "removed" by Philstar.com.

Vergiere herself denied she said "in an interview or elsewhere" that the whole province of Cebu was now under ECQ. "No truth to that," she said in a story ran 11 a.m. Friday, June 19, 2020, by Philstar.com. She mentioned only the province when the rest of the region was affected by the news. She didn't mention the news site but the story said The Star made the "erroneous report."

The story was circulated by internet users who were quick and nimble with their smartphone keys even in the wee hours. But Philstar's prompt owning up and correction helped shoot down the false story. Which can hardly be said of other sources, which don't have the system and discipline to get and give the facts right and correct any error or falsehood.

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CCMC's link to coronavirus

OTHER INFRA PROJECTS DUMPED. The Cebu City Council passed Wednesday, June 17, the P3.3-billion supplemental budget #3 by a vote of 17-1. The budget includes P500 million to complete the project to build a new city hospital.

Minority Leader Nestor Archival was the sole dissenter. Other BOPK councilors voted yes, with four other BOPK councilors (Alvin Dizon, Lea Japson, Raul Alcoseba and Joy Young) expressing reservations.

The "technicalities" Dizon, Japson and Alcoseba cited must refer to the apparent use of the Covid-19 campaign to carry on its back the additional budget for the still unfinished city hospital building.

"The essence of SB 3 is for Covid," Alcoseba said, "and CCMC is not Covid; it's not urgent, it's not necessary." Young said, "You all who say CCMC is urgently needed to beat Covid show that you don't know how to deal with Covid. Tan-awon bi og kinahanglan ba ang CCMC aron ma-kuan ang Covid? Wala."

Karlon N. Rama, journalist and journalism teacher, said the line of argument "will shock you." Technically though, Aloseba and Young were right.

Completing the CCMC building would not be "essential" to fighting Covid-19, as there are other hospitals in the city and the virus is attacked by various other ways and means. Completing CCMC is not what lawyers call "sine qua non" to contain coronavirus.

But CCMC's business is public health; having more beds, equipment and health personnel would "help." Not essential in the era of pandemic but would help. There's a direct relation to Covid-19, which qualifies under Alcoseba's concept of the "essence" of SB #3. The P500 million for CCMC may be deemed as "an investment in the health care system," which Councilor Dizon has urged Mayor Edgardo Labella to do, instead of undertaking infrastructure projects.

The City Council "slashed" from the package P240 million for a command center, P100 million for an archives building and P60 million for renovation of the legislative building. Link of those projects to Covid would be a long stretch. And plausibly, the reason BOPK went along to pass the money measure.


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