Sunday, August 01, 2021

Wenceslao: We should be in this together

Candid Thoughts

I once testified against arrested alleged rebel leaders while I was in the hands of government intelligence agents and in the process got to know then provincial prosecutor Gloria Lastimosa-Marcos (later Gloria Lastimosa-Dalawampu). It was then that I found out one of the mindsets of lawyers, when the case against the accused was elevated to the Supreme Court. Atty. Glo always got animated when her legal arguments convinced the High Court and were included in the records of the case.

I could sense the same kind of satisfaction in lawyer Benjamin Cabrido when people listen to his legal arguments. He was, after all, one of the environmental lawyers who argued for the rights of the dolphins in the High Court. Lawyers are like chess players who want to be admired for their tactical brilliance in mating an opponent. Thus, Cabrido filed on behalf of two lawyers a case against the Inter-Agency Task Force or IATF that is on top of efforts to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in the country.

I am not a lawyer, so I would leave to the lawyers the discussion on the legal aspect of the issue. My concern is on the government’s battle with the Covid-19 pandemic, which is more important than who between Cabrido and the IATF is legally correct in implementing the rules in battling the pandemic.

My stand on the matter is clear. This should not be about the nitty-gritty of the law but should rather be on how the spread of the coronavirus, notably its Delta variant, can be prevented. I am not a rabid “the end justifies the means” person, but I want the government to successfully contain the virus first and foremost. I look at the other members of my family, and I want me and them to be protected from this scourge.

As what my friend said, “Dili ni pataasay sa ihi.” Why won’t our leaders come up with a consensus acceptable to both sides, one that would be beneficial to all and not one that would satisfy only one’s ego? Both the Provincial Government and the IATF want to do good. They should leave it at that. Pride should not intrude in the discussion.

On this, we may have to point out how the Cebu City Government handled the pandemic early on. Some people objected to what they said was an invasion by an IATF team in the city. But local leaders strove to work well with the team sent by President Duterte and led by Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu. No egos intruded there and soon the number of infections lessened. One of the legacies of that cooperation between the national government and the local government unit was the creation of the Emergency Operations Center that continues to monitor the spread of the virus here.

So why can’t people at the higher levels in both the national and local government reach a consensus on how best to prevent the entry of the Delta variant of the virus to Cebu? Note that Cebu is at the heart of the archipelago and could spark the spread of the variant to the other regions in the country. Meaning that, we all should be in this together.


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