Let’s unite to defeat the virus

By: Alex P. Vidal

“Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other’s eyes for an instant?” – Henry David Thoreau

ANYTHING that destroys and kills should alarm us and impel us to be united to stop it.

Whether it’s a poisonous food and drink, virus, an act of terrorism, bad weather, war, animal attack, epidemic, it must be given major emphasis, importance, priority, and full attention.

The bottom line is to halt its destruction, minimize the death toll, and altogether save and preserve human life.

In the arena of death and mayhem these past weeks, dengue fever has been the “star of the show.”

Luckily, we’ve seen how the government, media, non-government organizations (NGOs), civic organizations, individual Good Samaritans, military, Philippine National Police (PNP) have combined their talents and resources to fight dengue fever, which has reached red alert level in Western Visayas, particularly in the city and province of Iloilo.




In times like this, we can’t afford to entrust everything to the Department of Health (DoH) and relegate ourselves in the role of kibitzers.

Dengue is not the only problem that bedevils the undermanned DoH.

Although it won’t scream for help, DoH definitely needs both moral, financial, personnel, and logistical support from concerned agencies and private groups in the battle against dengue.

If help will continue to come from a myriad of sources outside the DoH, there is no reason why we can’t help trounce the dreaded virus that has killed many Ilonggo kids and adults.

The signs that many Ilonggo leaders, organizations, and private individuals are determined to help avert a terrible dengue outbreak has been felt this past week when businessman Johnny Que and the Iloilo Red Cross donated folding beds for Iloilo hospitals inundated by dengue patients.




We are saddened that another media colleague, Eduardo Dizon of the Cotabato-based Brigada News, became the latest murder victim in the country ruled by an iron-fisted president who once threatened to kill “all corrupt journalists.”

Under the Duterte administration, Dizon was the 13th casualty from the Fourth Estate.

We have no idea about the issues Dizon had tackled before he was shot to death by two motorcycle gunmen while travelling in a car on his way home in Makilala town on July 11.

Initial reports said his murder was job-related as he received threats during his radio program prior to the ambush.

Journalists in the Philippines are like sitting ducks.

Every now and then we hear reports of radioman or newspaperman being murdered in cold blood.

And we seldom hear that the cases are being pursued seriously by authorities; or, if the culprits have identified, they are brought behind bars and convicted,




We hate to again mention that the culture of impunity in the Philippines must have emboldened enemies of press freedom to silence Dizon, who was partly a politician.

The danger that crusading journalists face in the Philippines can be compared to the danger combatants in actual armed combat are facing in the battlefield: no one knows who will fall next.

Authorities must exert strong efforts to arrest Dizon killers soon so that the international community will not accuse the government of “abetting” the murder and connect it to the drastic campaign against illegal drugs now that the Philippines is under scrutiny and being monitored by the United Nations for its horrible record in human rights.

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo)