Friday, October 22, 2021

Briones: Sign of the times

STUDENTS who used to attend private schools are now enrolled at public schools.

A total of 24,000 of them in Central Visayas to be exact, according to figures released by the Department of Education 7.

Also, 25 private schools in the region – 23 in Cebu, one in Bohol and one in Negros Oriental – were forced to close temporarily because of the lack of enrollees.

In Cebu City, Councilor Raymond Alvin Garcia announced that the City Government might have to trim expenditures next year because of the likelihood that it wouldn’t be able to meet its target tax collection for 2020.

Let’s face it. Where will the money come from?

Certainly not from the hundreds of businesses that have been forced to call it quits.

Some just couldn’t recover from the lack of income when the government imposed quarantine measures that shut down their operations for several months.

Those that did survive still have to contend with fewer customers and other uncertainties as the health crisis continues. Not quite the rosy present and future they were banking on during this yuletide season.

But hey, we have Mayor Edgardo Labella’s word that essential programs will not be compromised.

That means qualified senior citizens and persons with disability will continue to receive their financial assistance from the City. And aren’t they lucky. After all, they’re not the only ones who have been affected when the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic arrived in our shores sometime in March. Or was it earlier? Not that it matters anymore.

To be honest, more people are interested in the fate of US President Donald Trump, who, along with his wife, were said to have tested positive for the virus. But not I. I couldn’t care less. There are far more important matters happening in our midst.

Take for example the plight of the thousands of drivers who will lose their only means of livelihood because Cebu City will limit the number of “traditional” jeepneys operating on the streets to just 1,000. We’re talking about more than 4,000 drivers who will be displaced.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not having a change of heart. I still support the goals of the Duterte administration’s Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program. I mean, who doesn’t want an efficient and environmentally friendly public transportation system?

But then I think about all those people who will be out of a job, forced to start from scratch. In the middle of a pandemic. What will happen to them? Most if not all of them have families to feed.

As a forever optimist, I think I’m better off wondering what will happen to Trump.


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