IF THINGS go as they proposed, the Davao City Government will put the city under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) starting Saturday, June 5 up to June 30.
The MECQ is eyed after seeing what they call the "next surge" happening in the city. New variants of Covid-19 and also the daily activities where people get crammed into public transport and offices have raised active cases to 1,374 as of June 2, with new daily cases not lower than 130 since May 24 except for May 29.
While stricter protocols may help stop the rise in cases, and ease health frontliners from facing this overwhelming situation, there are still other matters the local government should look at to what Davawenyos are worrying about entering MECQ.
In the comments section of the city government's Facebook page, one main concern raised is the need for "ayuda". Labor statistics peg unemployment in Davao Region at 20,000 (there's no specific figures for the city). An MECQ means lesser work time, lesser income, possibly more establishments closed or laying off workers. There's more worry for the working class where to find food for the table. And when you look at how over a thousand people gather at community pantries here every day, you see hunger and hardship is prevalent.
Another concern is that the city needs to tell Davawenyos to calm down, as there is a tendency for us to cram to markets and groceries prior to the MECQ taking place. That happened before last year when the city shifted to ECQ, when the clustering was implemented and the QR code registration saw people rushing to barangay offices. This may be a problem in communication and coordination with barangays, but if we want to stop spreader events like this, it has to be done now.
Perhaps, the biggest concern for all is that 16 months into the pandemic and we are still handling this with the government telling us to stay home, don't go out. We have done this part so much for so long, but there is little relief coming. Vaccine rollout is slow. Employment, anxiety and hunger is high. There's stress over online school and relatives getting sick or dying from this virus.
They had only spread rules to us, but hope and solidarity is something we have wanted since day one.