My attention was called several times due to the post ‘“The Kit” and zero confirmed Covid-19 case in Bicol Region‘. Many were encouraging with a couple saying the post is spreading undue panic. The latter troubled me because that means I wasn’t successful in driving my message across.
The greatest failure in communication is when the sender is misunderstood. So I asked one of those with negative appreciation why he thinks that way. His response: The numbers are gloomy and you are implying that the lack of tested Covid-19 cases could just be a facade and imply that there is more.
The numbers, indeed, are gloomy but we can’t manipulate the numbers just to say that everything is well. As of March 23, there are already 462 confirmed cases in the country with 33 deaths. Allegedly, six of them are doctors. The sad thing is, we have only tested 1,619 and the Department of Health is still sitting on the idea of mass testing — again maybe because of the lack of manpower and testing kits.
We can package the message enticingly beautiful but the more we do so, the more we defeat the purpose of asking our fellowmen to follow quarantine rules, and encourage our government officials to compete with the real patients for the available resources and health workers’time as well as condone them to sit on their obligations. Patients are dying, some of them doctors, even before learning the results of their Covid tests while waiting for the results. Politicians, on the other hand, would want to be tested first and get their results fast despite the fact that they are asymptomatic and do not belong to the priority group that needs to be tested. At least 34 government officials demanded the Research Institute for Tropical medicine (RITM) to be tested.
In these trying times, we need to beef up hope. But that doesn’t mean we need to lie or tell half truths. That also doesn’t mean we should forget exacting accountability especially from those who that asked for and received our trusts — the government officials who are taking cuts in the form of taxes our hard-earned money. We did not elect or are paying for these officials to be the first to live and let the rest of us die.
We expect that we will have responsible officials and leaders who, like Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, deferred Covid testing having no symptoms just to save resources and give way to those in need. And moreso, we expect government officials and leaders who, in these trying times, will lead us to that hope — a hope that together, as a country, as a people, we will live through the day worrying not about our food or bills or mortgages or rents; and wake up again tomorrow, find a cure and overcome this pandemic.
Facts and unadulterated truths could wake up our government officials. We have done this with some of the 34 officials who availed a VIP treatment for Covid testing asking for apology. We have done this that the Department of the Interior and Local Government was able to issue a warning to barangays that tried to make money out of the situation by selling quarantine passes. We have done this that attention are now slowly being given to our health workers and frontliners — albeit with some riding on the latter’s popularity. We have done this that the bill granting emergency powers to the President has been watered down and one of the crucial provisions removed — that is, the provision to grant the President the power to take over companies and utilities being run by the private sector.
We need to spread facts and unadulterated truths. That is what we should do. Lies and half truths fuel suspicion and that is what scares people. That is what causes panic.