“If I am given a formula, and I am ignorant of its meaning, it cannot teach me anything, but if I already know it what does the formula teach me?” —Saint Augustine
IT’S so disturbing to hear public officials quarreling in public because of some impasse concerning coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
This is not the time to divide and compete.
It’s not good timing to show off and express outrage toward a fellow public servant and his or her purported “failure” or “incompetence” in the battle against COVID-19.
If the feuding public officials are using their common sense, they will set aside their enmity and focus their energy and resources to fight the dreaded pandemic.
Instead of swapping harsh words, the COVID-19 protagonists in public offices should stop freaking out, sit down and find a common ground to resolve any conflict, refrain from blaming each other, and go back to the drawing board.
The time calls for the doyens in public service.
People always expect their public leaders to hammer out whatever solution that is available and implement it in order to halt the hemorrhage; life must be preserved and saved at all cost amid the growing number of COVID-19 cases in the Philippines.
If they tear each other apart, they become distractions and liabilities; they digress from the flashpoint of all-out campaign to eradicate the virus and become part of the problem.
WHAT “formula” was Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu saying his team had supposedly used in Cebu City “as a strategy to bring down the number of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in Bacolod City” and next in Iloilo?
We waited for Cimatu to announce the “formula” since August 29 but until now the Ilonggos have not heard anything about it except for his pronouncement that reverberated in the media this past week.
In his team’s recent visit in Bacolod City, Cimatu declared: “This is the formula that we adopted in Cebu, bring down the battle to the barangay and let the barangay captains do the rest.”
If the “formula” Cimatu was referring to was the deployment of military nurses and uniformed frontliners in the barangays, there was no need for his team to travel as a big group using the taxpayers’ money to meet Mayor Evelio “Bing” Leonardia and other local officials just to announce their intention to implement the “formula.”
Without spending the taxpayers’ money for their Bacolod trip, the military-led mission can always proceed.
There’s no earthshaking formula actually aside from the same military-led mission formula they used in Cebu.
It is another story if they will bring a vaccine that will finally resolve the pandemic problem in Bacolod and Iloilo.
Common sense will tell that they can always transmit the information and share the “formula” by a long distance if it’s only about the deployment of military medical personnel and supplies.
“We are here to help Bacolod, help the people, help the mayor because (he) sent a letter to the President asking for some assistance, manpower, and other equipment, including how to stop the rising cases in Bacolod,” said Cimatu.
As the chief COVID-19 response implementor in the Visayas, Cimatu, along with Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Michael Lloyd Dino and Inter-Agency Task Force-Visayas deputy implementer General Melquiades Feliciano met with Leonardia and other city officials as a response to Leonardia’s urgent appeal for assistance to President Rodrigo R. Duterte.
The national government reportedly has two teams to augment the COVID-19 response in Bacolod.
The initial team composed of 12 members arrived on August 28.
Dino said: “We have a very good plan for Bacolod. The help will be here very, very soon. In fact, there are military health workers, military doctors, and military nurses who are coming. I think we’ll be bringing two teams.”
It was reported that Feliciano announced in Bacolod they would begin focusing on Bacolod City starting September 1.
He said: “We will go back to Cebu, but we will be back on September 1, and we will be full-time here in Bacolod and Iloilo. We move to Bacolod, then to Iloilo and vice versa. It will be a daily activity.”
The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two dailies in Iloilo