Pangan: A new strain

At Close Range

IT SEEMS that the coronavirus wreaking havoc on our national health and economy has found the Philippines very friendly and accommodating to its new strain, which reportedly emanated from the United Kingdom.

Now, President Duterte is mulling on reimposing the previous harsh community lockdowns in various phases to contain the new strain of the coronavirus, a deadly disease, no doubt.

I do not wish to countermand the President’s inclination to impose another set of injurious lockdowns, but I suggest he and his bright boys should put more weight on economic factors rather than on overacting health reasons.

After all, the President has been bragging about the imminent arrival of the anti-Covid-19 vaccine, a sure antidote against the disease. And now, why is his apprehension over the new strain?

Imagine the harshness of the lockdowns: restricted mobility and the scarceness of goods and services. These, the members of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases should seriously consider! There is no need for guesswork.

Our gross domestic product (GDP) has fallen down the desired targets. Livelihood and employment and the incomes of wage earners have been grossly affected, not to mention those who lost their jobs. These are things the members of the IATF should factor in in their decisions, nothing less.


On a saner topic, I would like to feature the impressively detailed program of the North-South Commuter Railway Extension Project (NSCR-Ex) done by the City Planning and Development Office (CPDO) Mabalacat City, headed by Rosan S. Paquia, EnP and researched by Francis Foronda, senior staff at CPDO.

CPDO introduced the study by mentioning that the government of the Philippines sought the assistance of the Japan International Cooperation Agency and the Asian Development Bank for funding of the ambitious Malolos-Clark Railway Project.

The NSCR is a 146-kilometer railway system connecting cities and municipalities of Region 3, the National Capital Region and Region 4-A and is one of the priority projects under the Build, Build, Build program of President Duterte. The main proponent of the project is the Department of Transportation.

I will resume writing the other data of this study in future columns.


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