Getting ahead

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In another strategically well deliberated move, Mayor Benjie spared no further effort in putting in place heightening restrictions an already aggrieved populace. The focus remains crystal clear: make Baguio doubly safer, reduce opportunities for infection, ensure that safety protocols are diligently observed and practised as a matter of course.

Actually, he’s concerned, just like everybody else, but this time more than at any other time. Even as Baguio remains under GCQ, the longest time if ever anyone remains clued, the time to take chances over choices should be set aside, decisively. The pandemic has been festering all over — globally in fact as it continued its deadly presence in communities across the seas. And now, it has become an even deadlier threat, made more menacing by the Delta variant that has afflicted far and wide in speedier seconds.

The new restrictions under GCQ, put into effect just days ago, should stem the tide of infection, prevent irresponsibly induced in-person gatherings, sternly keep watch over unnecessary mobility, reduce crowded situations, and hammer in greater consciousness and obedience to health standards, whether in or at home. At no other time, indeed, has the situation been more frightening, as community transmissions have been listed up in recent days. Cases are rising to concerning levels, by over a hundred in just hours.

And why shouldn’t Mayor Benjie do the pro-active effort? The numbers have been telling scaringly: Seven-day average for cases per day stands out at 165; number of barangays with new cases in two weeks is 115 out of 128. The startling data simply calls for resolute thinking, which is exactly what happened, as the Mayor convened the local IATF and business leaders to a decisive confab.

These were the action points arrived in consensus:  1) Total ban on the sale and service of liquor and other alcoholic products; 2) Permitted customer capacity for enclosed indoor seating in dine-in establishments is now reduced to 30%; 3) Beginning September 11 all through the 26th, permitted attendance in religious gatherings is scaled down to 20% of venue capacity, and strictly limited tyo worshipping.

Indeed, somber and sobering as we gear up towards the New but Better Normal. It does make sense, as the main focus remains trained on the health crisis in our midst. Definitely, in-door gatherings that businesses have been gearing up for are put off to a later more providential time. This time, in keeping with constantly being safe — that’s you and I and the rest of us — we’ve got to put in sterner attitudes to watch over the back of everybody else.

That means not leaving it to health enforcers the sole job of keeping everyone safe and safer. If that means having to act singly and be the loud voice of concern to everyone in hearing (and heeding) distance, let it be. If that’s the sole civic duty that anyone can do in these perilous times, let it be. You’d be saving not just yours but the the lives of many around you, including those protesting the sordid yell-out.

Without doubt, the Delta threat is many times more lethal than its predecessor viral forms. Remember how we’d scurry around last year just to avoid getting infected? Oh, in no time have we become used to do away the festive reasons to be part of in-person gatherings. There is no choice this time, as in any dreadful time, to make health protocols work, even to make these sterner than before. It is life we’re dealing with, our life.

In over a year of restrained carefreeness, we did away much of our liberties. No chance should these take-aways weigh more than the very life we’re keeping on. You may have longed for the years of carefreeness, of being too languid, too careless, too dreamy — but regret not, for the blessing of being alive to remember the bygone days.

For now, let’s stay focused, alert, and compliant with the drastic changes in place. We owe it to ourselves, our kids, our friends and neighbors, even the strangers we hardly notice. Life, after all, is a work in progress, which we advance for all the painstaking labor put into it day by day. That, in itself, is reason enough to save it, cherish it, care for it.

So what if in these times we’re losing not just liberties but the decent chance of living through the sacrifice? Losing what had been there  is never a hindrance to winning back what remains in terms of human dignity, of earned esteem, of deep-seated longing for a recovery of what had been claimed due to being careless. That is exactly what have marked our life over a year ago — an abrupt change from the slow, steady, and sustained push towards a sturdier rise in what can capably be claimed. The virus may have become a potent, deadly threat. Staying the course, doing our share, struggling it out, fighting it bit by bit but in decisive, winning ways — that’s how the tough gets through, when the going gets tough.

This must be well-remembered for all that counts as Baguio marks yet another challenging milestone year: It takes more than just saying No when Baguio’s stakes are out there to bet on. We shall persevere, we will overcome, and yes, we shall be consecrated to live by the visions of old, when Baguio was just a rancheria grazed upon by the herd. Today, we are a city pushing hard to get on the herd mentality, for the immunity it offers. Oh yes, Baguio will withstand test and trials, as the city had throughout most of the growing years. Adversities may be upon us in battalion, but so did so many stumbling blocks in decades past.

It must be re-inculcated: It’s really all up to today’s generation of leaders and citizens to keep pace amid the challenges of the times. The pandemic remains a deadly threat, no doubt serving as a disliked, even hated, intruder that has dampened the revelry and mood of any celebration. Last year, covid did it, scrapping off not just Baguio Day in all its glorifying circumstance but all other jovial gatherings reminiscent of the carefree past.

To us folks who refuse to yield an inch of the way forward, a safe, smart and sustainableBaguio Day everyone — they who live abroad, unable to visit dear ol’Baguio due to the pandemic-induced travel restrictions, but still able to send online their shared greetings of hope; they who live here in stark refusal to leave out for good, believing in a prospective Baguio future for family and kids; they who have always dreamt of being a Baguio visitor, enjoying the sights, relishing the experience of breathing in a Baguio experience uniquely all its own. Even for just a day.

Dapat. Sapat. Ingat. Para Angat!