Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Seares: Guv Gwen critic Dr. Salvana clams up on Cebu issue, says we must live with Covid... Mike, Edlab don't talk to each other? No big deal.

The Short of It

THEY don't disagree on this

Edsel Maurice Salvana, epidemiology expert and IATF adviser and newspaper columnist -- with whom Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia crossed swords on the issue of who's to blame for the Delta variant -- may have sheathed his blade.

His August 17 column "Clinical Matters" in Manila Bulletin is silent about the Cebu issue and instead made some prediction about the pandemic.

One thing is becoming clear, he wrote Tuesday, August 17, there is one acceptable long-term solution to living with Covid-19: "Widespread vaccination."

Not exactly a novel idea. People have been hearing that for the last few months from experts or non-experts.

The doctor and the governor seem to agree to on this: The virus will be "around for a very long time" and lockdowns and isolating whole countries from the world are now proven to be "unsustainable." In a smaller scale but on the same groove of thought, Guv Gwen, no medical expert, has long been saying that.

What's said about Labella

[1] August 11, Wednesday, 3:59 a.m. on his Facebook page: "Early morning briefing with some of the city's department heads in preparation of my return from my medical leave. I am still on the road to recovery and I thank everyone for the well-wishes. But I also ask everyone to stay safe and get vaccinated against Covid-19."

SECOND PROOF OF LIFE. With the post are two photos, (top): the mayor at the head of the table with at least three persons, one a woman. (lower photo) the mayor, reading a copy of the Philippine Star with the sky headline "Q2 GDP growth fastest in 32 years en." The mayor is not masked in both photos and his hands, as in the previous proof-of-life photo published on his FB page last July 31, were not shown holding the paper. Still, it was August 11 post showed a second proof-of-life photo plus a back-to-work photo.

[2] Tuesday, August 17, Acting City Mayor Mike Rama said Mayor Labella and he still had not talked with each other, a second "sumbong" or "tsismis," however one looks at it. An FB post by former city councilor Jun Alcover said, "Sa presscon ganina, matud pa ni VM Mike Rama, hangtod karon WA pa gyud sila magka-estoryahay ni Mayor Edlab." The "WA" in all caps and "gyud" indicate the emphasis on the now long silence between the city's two highest ranking officials.


Why they aren't talking

If it's true that Acting Mayor Mike and Mayor Edlab have not yet talked with each other, it's rash to make any uncharitable conclusion.

Maybe the mayor is not yet up to it physically. Or he wants to give Vice Mayor Mike free rein and doesn't want to cramp the style of the acting mayor. He must see Mike doing well, otherwise he would've butted in.

Not the first time, A.M. Mike "complained" about the mayor not taking his calls during his stints as temp mayor. In the past, Mike, as Sanggunian presiding officer, could be annoying with his own ideas how to wage the Covid-19 response. This time, though, Mike may need encouraging advice from his elected boss. Veteran as he is in coping with emergencies (having been vice mayor and mayor across the years, in multiple terms), the pandemic is no ordinary calamity. Some mean comments in social media talk about Mike not knowing what to do and needing help from Mayor Edgar.

One cannot say that it's bad for the city, this seeming gulf between the mayor and vice mayor. One has to know the facts to pass judgment on the situation. People are not too sure about the state of health of Mayor Edgar. And, as one radio broadcaster, asked, "are they sure about the state of mind of the acting mayor?" It's no big deal, not yet.

NAMES, ACRONYMS, NUMBERS. But A.M. Mike knows what to do, says a City Hall supporter, especially in assigning names or acronyms to projects and facilities: Oplan Puyo. Mega Stay-in Facility. Household Parental Lockdown. Barangay Territorial Management. Village Territory Control. Bottoms Up.

Or in sloganeering: Together, we can make things happen. Cebuano Lives Matter. And allusion to songs: We've Just Begun. Compare that with Guv Gwen's Just Once. "I did my best but my best was not enough."

Mike's fascination with repetition and numbers is widely known. Consider: 8-15-31, for the extension of MECQ for Cebu City. Recall how many times he called "stupid" the underpass project at Natalio Bacalso Ave. (the former South Expressway). Six times in one sitting at the City Council last May. How many times is the word "puyo" or "stay" used in his executive order? Even more in his pep talk to his "foot generals."

If for nothing else, A.M. Mike's stewardship during the pandemic will be remembered for his ear-catching names, numbers, slogans and the like. He even named the new MECQ Mike Edgar Cimatu Quarantine.

Some people cannot wait how he'll name the new cemetery and crematorium that the City plans to open.


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