Entering the second week under GCQ, all eyes will nationally focus on Baguio, cited no less for the effective way that a calibrated re-opening of critically need sectors has been enforced. To be sure, Mayor Benjie remains unaffected by the accollade heaped on the city by visiting Chief of Implementation General Carlito Galvez. As he used to say since way, way back, these are just small gains earned from the backbone of well-coordinated, well-enforced measures effectively put in place, primordially to keep everyone out of harm’s way.
As expected, there have been quite a number of glitzes when GCQ came into effect Monday this week, no doubt resulting from the suddenness of the city’s graduation into that level of downgrade in so far as quarantine restrictions are in play. Transportation and construction showed up literally to operate, albeit on highly regulated, limited scope, but compared to what transpired down under, the metropolitan nation’s capital region, Baguio appears to have adjusted well enough to earn General Galvez approbation.
It’s still testing time in this coming days, as we move into the next threshold. City authorities in the governance, health, enforcement, business sectors are expected to grind it out even more, to make sure that the presently-experienced health emergency remains in check locally. Not a kidding matter, the coronavirus remains a potent, frightening threat. The virus is lurking just about anywhere, ready to pounce on unsuspecting body hosts. Realistically, we can’t kill this virulence, but merely strive to slow its unrelenting march, prevent further its spread, and keep us well, safe, secure, and unstressed.
The re-opened sectors will definitely have to show more than just tonque-in-cheek compliance, they just have to wield greater responsibility to abide by and comply with health protocols meticulously put in place precisely to keep the virus at bay. Decidedly, greater vigilance will have to be exerted, especially in ensuring border control measures. People coming in requires to be checked and re-checked at entry points, reason why a two-stage triage has been set up, first at the borders, and second at another facility downtown.
Test, trace and treat have become the daily catchwords to push the city’s vigilance beyond borders. More testing kits have come in, including the components to make these work. This means elevating capacity to higher means of knowing where we actually are in measuring how well we are waging this strange war. In a population like ours, by this time, the numbers — presently at a stagnating 30 count — should have showed, in full clarity, what they represent, for us to know and analyze the significance they bring.
As it is, we’re all just into a catch-up race against the clock kind of game. This is why the transition period of 2 weeks or thereabouts, from ECQ to GCQ, has to signify more significant progress in the health protection front, specifically in learning how many more will be added to the daily count of incidences, of infections, of transmissions. This is Baguio’s new testing ground in these testing times.
There is no arguing, just the same, the pressing need to re-open critically hit sectors of the economy. Business has to get back on its feet, hobbled it has been much so much. Workers have to return to jobs suddenly thrust out of their working hands in the last two months. The growth drivers of our hurting economy have to hum anew, to breathe out in productive levels and quality. At a certain point in time, Baguio’s bread and butter businesses — education, tourism — have to resume, even if at the moment they’re in lockdown stage, except for allowed activities like food pickup and deliveries in the case of restaurants and accommodation for essential workers in re-opened businesses.
All throughout the collective ordeal, we have been well-encouraged by what we have done together, while staying safely apart from each other and keeping ourselves safe and secure. Despite difficulties arising from restrictions meant to foster better public health practices, we have shown what utmost unity, cooperation, and solidarity can do to help alleviate everyone and prevent the virus from infecting the populace. By our shared solidarity, we have spoken volumes in making our sense of humanity, our spirit of bayanihan, shine through that every moment defines us in great clarity.
As we transition into the next tougher phase of our struggle — even now, we’re calling it the New Normal in our way of life — let us keep up the faith of being brothers and sisters bonded by a common destiny well-led by a common heritage and well-envisioned by a future unlike any other in prospect and prosperity.
Sure, small victories have been worthily earned, no doubt because we listened, we complied, and we obeyed government’s efforts to make us out of risk every step of the way. It should do us well for our little triumphs to inspire us in being one in spirit, disciplining ourselves, encouraging others to be that way too. That is staying safe all the way.
And yes, we must continue addressing vigorously the covid-19 threat, ever conscious of the need to begin looking ahead. Opportunities are said to inhere in every crisis. Let’s look at that as the springboard to grow and re-grow even more so, and raise Baguio on the backbone of a program that emphasizes how being better in the New Normal means building back in far better ways.#
POSTSCRIPT: WE’RE TURNING a new leaf soon, part of the New Normal, for which we’re preparing to be part of. Some of us, just as intense advocates as we are, will be alternating in this corner of our world. Do stay with us, AS ONE!