I THINK Cebu City’s problem with the issuance of quarantine passes is a mindset thing. It began with President Rodrigo Duterte describing Cebuanos as hard headed or “gahig ulo,” which affected the thinking of subordinates down the line. When the group of retired general Roy Cimatu arrived in Cebu, they reviewed Cebu City’s implementation of the protocols designed to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus and noted that too many quarantine passes were issued. That prompted a recall of the already issued QPasses.
I don’t know how Cimatu and his group and the Cebu City Hall rooted the matter re: the issuance of too many QPasses in the city. Was it because of the laxity in the issuance or was it because of the proliferation of fake QPasses? They seemed to lean on the latter as shown by the increased complexity in what was encoded into the passes. The result was a bigger QPass than the ones issued previously and the ones issued by other local government units. And “may pacode-code pa.”
But first, those QPasses are not like tickets issued so the persons possessing them can enter the venue of an NBA game. The quarantine passes are issued not for profit but for survival. When the government imposes a lockdown, how can families get their needed daily provisions when not one among their members are allowed to get these provisions? Thus the exemptions: the QPass holders. I reckon only few people would fake a QPass just to be able to roam around. And who would buy a fake QPass? Besides, with those checkpoints and the military and the police deployed everywhere, who would dare carry a fake QPass?
I thought the re-issuance of the QPasses was simply meant to restore sanity in its distribution—meaning it was only meant to ensure that only one member of each family is a QPass holder. If that is the purpose, then authorities can simply make strict the issuance of the QPasses. So why are authorities going to the extent of making coded QPasses to ensure these wouldn’t be faked? Ingon ana na gyud kagahig ulo ang mga Cebuano nga mameke nag QPasses?
Cebu City should have just looked at the experience of other LGUs in the issuance of QPasses. Some towns in Cebu Province only recently reissued QPasses and not much fuss was generated from it. Those QPasses were small with only few details printed on them, including the name of the QPass holder and the name and signature of the barangay captain. And this: way pacode-code.
Those LGUs apparently believed in the goodness of their constituents and did not think they would go to the extent of faking the QPasses just so they could roam around their villages. Besides, QPasses are used in combination with other measures, like the police and their auxiliary forces, together with barangay officials, doing patrols to ensure the enforcement of protocols.
In the old days, we used to say that guns don’t kill people. Rather, people kill people. In the same way, coded QPasses do not ensure the strict implementation of protocols. Authorities and enlightened constituents do.