BACOLOD

Ombion: Good governance, not ECQ

Perspective

AS DEMANDED by some Bacolod-based doctors. And please enough of mediocre solutions to the crisis. ECQ is not the problem nor the solution. It is Covid management under good governance.

It is an insult to the local IATF headed by Vice Mayor Elcid Familiaran backed by doctors and nurses and frontline workers -- as if they had done nothing. It is also a misrepresentation of the local Covid-19 infection facts.

For two months under ECQ, we had proven the insignificant local infection, if at all there was any, either symptomatic or asymptomatic or whatever. The excellent strategies and strong enforcement of Bacolod IATF and its hundreds of frontliners, the police and the support of the people have been effective in preventing local infections. Of course, there was a price for it, the economy is down, the people went hungry, pale and fearful.

Since the descaling of the quarantine to GCQ and MGCQ for almost two months now, local Covid cases suddenly surged albeit still at manageable level. This is not because of local infection, but due to the return of hundreds of locally stranded individuals (LSIs) from Manila and Cebu. These LSIs have been quickly put into test, quarantine facility, and monitored. Thanks to the relentless efforts of the local IATF who tracked and plugged them down before they could infect others. It also enforced rather strongly the basic health protocols. And certainly, and urgently, there is a need to do massive testing and case tracking to be more confident in assessing the Covid crisis in Bacolod and Negros.

The pattern of present local infection is not caused locally but the handiwork of national IATF. They keep on sending home LSIs without proper information and coordination with the local government, and when positive cases came out among LSIs, they blame it on the LGUs. The LGUs despite their basic unpreparedness they have shown their compassion and done everything they could within their means. The national IATF however should have provided the necessary support to LGUs to manage more effectively the LSIs, as the main conduit of local infection.

So, if we have to assess it again, there has been no local infection cases. The problem started when the national IATF forcibly enforced the return of LSIs with no appropriate preparations prior to their return, and no corresponding right coordination and support of local government and its IATF. Still, the local IATF and officials, made the right move by waging localized lockdowns, flexible curfews, mobile checkpoints, improved case tracking, intensified swabs and rapid tests, and enforcement of health protocols.

Where were the doctors and managers of private hospitals during the local IATF battle with Covid cases? Where were they when the local IATF and the local officials were scrambling for support from the restive people? They were busy with their own usual thing while their big bosses were mapping how to sustain their profit in times of pandemic. Now they demand to put the entire city under ECQ again to contain the Covid spread, kono? What a shame.

For almost five months now, the local economy has collapsed, kicked out a huge army of unemployed, caused widespread misery of the people, and scenario is now moving towards an even more critical period when people are almost fed up with the government and gearing to put retributary justice unto their own hands, while the government is facing a serious crisis of governance, fast thinning of resources, budget cuts, decreasing tax collections, and psychological fatigues.

I described in the past days the LGUs to be nowhere, and this is what I mean with it, it is struggling to overcome its weaknesses and strengthen its weaknesses.

This is why, VM Elcid is right in its assertion that the focus of the city and LGUs in general is the reinvigoration of the local economy, what and how to help local businesses and enterprises recover slowly, repositioning local agriculture, small manufacturing and MSMEs in local economy development, rebuilding the trust of the people on the local government -- while managing well the local infection cases. All these require exercise of good local and participatory governance which begin with good roadmapping and strategizing -- not ECQ.

Again, ECQ is neither the problem nor the solution. It is Covid management under good governance.


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