ON FRIDAY, July 31, Davao City Mayor Sara Z. Duterte-Carpio announced during an interview on Davao City Disaster Radio that starting Monday, August 3, she will be releasing a new executive order (EO) adjusting the quarantine guidelines now that the city is placed under a modified general community quarantine (MGCQ).
Among the adjustments that will be made is the lifting of the food and medicine passes (FM pass) and the curfew. This technically means that businesses will be allowed to operate with longer business hours and to resume their Sunday operations. The mayor also said Sunday religious activities may also resume
"I-lift nato ang FM pass ug curfew. Ngano? (Why are we lifting the implementation of the FM pass and curfew?) It’s because we want people to self-regulate,” Duterte-Carpio said.
While some rejoiced over the announcement, many Dabawenyo residents expressed concern over the further easing of restrictions amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
In an online Facebook poll conducted by SunStar Davao, a majority of those who responded to the poll said they are not in favor of the lifting of some of the restrictions that have been put in place since the community quarantine began.
Those who are not in favor of the easing of the restrictions said we cannot expect everyone in the city to self regulate or have self-discipline. Several people who commented on the poll pointed out that even during the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) and GCQ, people continue to violate the guidelines on the use of FM passes and following curfew.
Over the weekend, #YEStoFMPASSandCURFEW trended over social media. One of the important points raised by those using the hashtag is once these restrictions are lifted, it would further strain the overworked health system.
According to the data from the Department of Health in Davao Region, Davao City has already 279 active cases s of August 1, 2020. It can be noted that there has been a steady increase in Covid-19 cases in the city since it entered MGCQ.
As of July 31, the bed occupancy for both the ICU and ward beds at the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) is now around 60 percent. This is just a few more beds before it hits the warning zone.
Meanwhile, those who agreed to the easing of some of the restrictions said there is a need to save the economy from collapsing. Others say that the lifting of the curfew is beneficial to workers who leave the workplace late in the evening or those who have evening shifts.
However, with the increasing number of Covid-19 cases and the need to help our local health system, the city government may want to reconsider the lifting of certain restrictions. Somehow, the FM pass and the curfew have allowed the economy to restart and at the same time, limit the movement of people.
By the end of the day, despite the efforts of the local government and our health workers, the self-discipline of the residents of Davao City plays a crucial role in preventing the disease from spreading at a rapid rate.
The more people stay hard-headed, dishonest and uncooperative, it will be a long fight against the Covid-19. Remember, in the fight against Covid-19, everyone has a part to play.
"We want people to understand nga kinahanglan mag-gikan na sa ilaha na karon. Mag-practice na sila. Because remember, wala gihapo'y bakuna, tambal, and this will be here, ang Covid-19, until wala ta kahibalo hangtud kanus-a (We want people to understand that they should practice and observe health measures because there is still no vaccine or medicine against Covid-19),” Duterte-Carpio said.
Let us follow the health safety protocols to protect ourselves and the people around us and to help the health workers and our government. We are still in a community quarantine and that no proven treatment is still available to combat Covid-19. As we would colloquially say on social media, “Thou shall not kompyans (Don’t be complacent).”