Malilong: The curse of the tuob invades City Hall

The Other Side

THE curse of the tuob continues.

I do not mean that to denigrate the home remedy being promoted by the Capitol which a former law school classmate characterized as the revolution of the masses against the oppression by high-charging doctors and hospitals. But this is not about erupting social volcanoes, that was for when I was 18. This is about sensitivity to public opinion and care in spending public money.

In fact, I resort to tuob every now and then. It’s a practice that I learned when I was young but have forgotten until former party list Congressman Jun Alcover started promoting it on Facebook. I offer no testimony about its efficacy other than I don’t sneeze as much anymore when I wake up in the morning. I do not know and I am not saying that it is a cure for or protection against the Covid-19.

The two medical doctors in the house are neither encouraging nor cynical in my tuob ritual but it was my wife who saw to it that I was comfortable and didn’t get scalded, a danger that was soon eliminated when the other doctor, my daughter-in-law, found an electric steamer among their unopened wedding gifts.

I did not spend much for my witchcraft (not my word but that of my two young granddaughters who until then have not seen anyone squatting on the floor with his body fully covered with a blanket). The “ingredients” were locally sourced except for the eucalyptus drops that I bought in small bottles in Bangkok: oregano leaves that I asked from an office mate (thank you, Ging Ruiz) and ginger from the small pile we hoarded when quarantine was declared.

By curse, I refer to the seemingly inevitable trouble that tuob brings to those who champion it. The Capitol issued a memorandum directing its employees to regularly practice it and soon Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia found herself at war with many doctors who criticized her for promoting a cure that was not supported by medical science.

At least in the case of the Capitol, no public money was involved. It is not so at City Hall where P2.5 million were withdrawn from the city’s coffers to purchase tuob kits for distribution to those who have been tested positive for the coronavirus and housed in isolation centers.

Why the City Government should spend so much money for something that is not universally accepted as medication for any disease, much less Covid-19, is difficult to understand. Mayor Edgardo Labella already has his hands full addressing the many problems related to Covid-19. Why should his people add one more to his plate?

Councilor Jerry Guardo, who is apparently involved in the purchase and distribution of the tuob kits, says the cost of P2,500 per set is cheap if you consider the life that it saves. But that is precisely the point: there is no proof that it was the tuob that made the coronavirus disappear from the bodies of the infected.

Even Guardo admits that steam inhalation does not cure but only helps in curing Covid-19. How did he know that it helped? What I understand is that those who are housed in isolation centers are not seriously ill and can recover on their own with little or even no medical intervention. So how did tuob come into play in their recovery?

The councilor has a lot of explaining to do to convince the people that their money was not wasted on a useless endeavor. I know that Guardo meant well, that he only wanted to be helpful but as he and I know, the road to perdition is sometimes paved with noble intentions.


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