"It seems things will get worse before they get better."
I am not sure whether the lockdown in Metro Manila and in Luzon will be extended in the wake of reports from the Health Department that the pandemic has not yet peaked.
It seems things will get worse before they get better.
I would really appreciate it if the President could ease some restrictions. For example, vehicles may ferry those with passes so they can get food. Drugstores and supermarkets are often far from where we live. Likewise, restrictions on the delivery of printed editions of newspapers should also be eased.
There are suggestions on the need for mass testing. But this might not yet be feasible since the country still lacks test kits and our frontliners are still lacking in number.
It appears that government officials and VIPs are getting preferential treatment. How about those living in the slums? There are six to eight people sharing a small room. How can they practice social distancing? Stay home, we are told. But how about those who have no homes?
Then there’s the situation in our congested jails. Inmates live in overly cramped conditions such that they have to take turns sleeping. At the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa, convicts are dying
There are other things I am worried about. For instance, the government needs to provide food in slum areas. Yes, they are now given these, but for how long?
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The President told us that he has the money (P200 billion) to subsidize the needs of the poor. Congress has also earmarked billions on pesos for the Department of Agriculture to enable farmers to provide the country food.
But that is not the point. People must go to work and lead normal lives. There is nothing normal about this lockdown.
I agree that in this difficult time, everybody must sacrifice. I speak for myself and my wife, being most prone to catch the virus. We cannot anymore get by on our own and we need helpers to assist us.
My thoughts go back to the Second World War, when the Japanese Imperial Army occupied the country. We were hungry most of the time. We used bagfuls of Mickey Mouse money just to buy a ganta of rice. We ate kangkong from the esteros. This was why we eventually went North to join my brothers who were part of the guerilla movement. At least there, we could eat regularly.
At that time, farmers and fishermen were always sure of having food on the table.
Now, it’s an entirely different story.
My fervent wish is that there would be enough testing kits and frontliners. This is an enemy that is unseen.
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The world is now in recession, and so is the Philippines with all these lockdowns. Will the experts ever find a cure, and when?
In this connection, I am wondering what will happen to those big-ticket and high-profile infrastructure projects that have been discontinued because of the lockdown.
Things were looking good with Ramon Ang of San Miguel launching the New Manila International Airport, with four runways, on a 2,400-hectare property in Bulacan.
This project is a game-changer, designed by the best architects and engineers. It will generate one million jobs and will be able to serve 14 million passengers. This is something we could all be proud of.
And then, there is also San Miguel’s MRT-7, also on hold because of COVID-19. It will run from Bulacan to Quezon City.
I am also wondering what will happen to the development of Sangley Airport in Cavite. And the remodeling of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
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Santa Banana, I am glad and relieved that my good friend, former Prime Minister and now Senior Vice President of the Yuchengco Group of Companies, Cesar Virata, is just hospitalized for pneumonia. There were rumors circulating that he had passed on.
I wish his recovery. We used to play tennis together, when we were both residents of PhilAm Homes in Quezon City.