Most Metro Manila mayors insensitive to their constituents’ plight
It is appalling that some local governments in Metro Manila are insensitive to the plight of thousands of commuters forced to walk to and from work on the first day of the general community quarantine (GCQ).
With jeepneys, city buses and UV express vans still disallowed, those without cars were left on their own to find a way to get to their destinations. Vehicles belonging to the Armed Forces, police and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority were seen picking up commuters but only a handful of local government units like Valenzuela, Marikina and Pasig provided free shuttle services.
When the government told Metro Manila residents to go back to work without lifting the ban on public transport, the 17 mayors agreed. Why is it that only three provided free rides to their constituents? What happened to the 14 other mayors?
Wake up! Get out of your air-conditioned houses and help your suffering constituents!
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The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) should move quickly and distribute the cash assistance promised by the national government to thousands of passenger jeepney drivers in Metro Manila who have yet to return to their routes.
The master list of jeepney driver beneficiaries in the National Capital Region compiled by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board has been with the DSWD since April but it was only late last month when a cleared list was returned after cross-matching and validation.
On Monday, it was clear that jeepney drivers were already restless as several held protests in many parts in the metropolis, complaining of loss of income that was further aggravated by the very slow release of cash assistance.
While it is right for the government to impose minimum health standards in passenger jeepneys before allowing them to operate, it is also highly inhuman to deny them of the aid they deserve.
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In the past week, a horrific increase of confirmed new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases was reported by the Department of Health (DOH). The numbers started with the biggest rise in a single day on Thursday (539 positive cases), followed by 1,046 positives on Friday, then 580 on Saturday and 846 the next day for a total of 3,013 that propelled our total to over 18,086.
With GCQ in effect in Metro Manila, the rising numbers may cause panic. Are we really safe out there?
Respected medical experts differ in opinion. Interagency task force medical adviser Dr. Ted Herbosa says the epidemic is now in the deceleration phase, but the DOH must speed up reporting of cases and ensure accurate test results.
DOH adviser Dr. Edsel Salvana says we haven’t won yet, and warns against people acting as if the worst is over. A University of the Philippines study group says the Metro lockdown was successful with the rate of transmission nationwide decreasing but still not under control.
Health Undersecretary Rosario Maria Vergeire says there is nothing to worry about the sudden rise in positive cases because most of these are backlog cases and in fact, the number of fresh cases is dropping with over 93 percent showing mild symptoms.
But the easing of restrictions under GCQ is making people wary of “asymptomatic carriers” in their daily commute to and from work. We all seem to be participants in the famous “Survivor” TV series in the United States.
Matira matibay (May the strongest survive)!
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