Stupidity in health protocols

By Herbert Vego


DID you laugh, smirk or rage over the latest “safety precaution” announced by the Philippine National Police (PNP) to avoid catching coronavirus disease (Covid-19)?

To say it in jest and in gist, “Thou shalt not show public display of affection.”

You and your spouse, your parents or your children may not kiss, neither hold hands nor hug each other in public view.

If the “commandment” stems from the fear of a stranger kissing another, it’s hard to imagine the latter not slapping the former.

Anyway, pasalamat tayo there is no penalty for violating that admonition. Pararangalan… este pangangaralan lang daw tayo ng mamang pulis.

Is that another “new normal” in our fight against Covid?

Well, in a sense there is nothing new in the way the government relies more on the police and the military than in the doctors in the war against the unseen enemy.

Lest we fall with the rise of our blood pressure, we simply laughed off the frightening sight of an armored personnel carrier rolling down the streets of Cebu City to implement lockdown measures.

Based on the most conservative estimate of the Philippine Statistics Authority, one year of on-and-off closure of business establishments has resulted in 4.5 million laborers losing their jobs.

We not only repeat but also “enhance” restrictions that have pulled the rich poorer and the poor poorest.  We are reminded of Albert Einstein’s oft-quoted saying, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.”

Common sense tells us that the basic protocols – face shielding/masking, hand-washing and social distancing – are supposedly good enough. It’s because, according to the World Health Organization, it is transferable only by droplets passed on from one person to another

But then, as if we are not happy with how the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Department of Health (DOH) scare us with daily upward statistics on alleged Covid cases and deaths, another pollster calling itself the UP-Octa Research Group has joined the fray.

It’s as if it has taken the place of the Social Weather Stations (SWS) and Pulse Asia. You see, it was Octa Research which warned that the Philippines may see 6,000 new coronavirus cases daily by March 31. So far it is the most negative prediction on the Covid-positive.

Hmmmn, is that a way of predicting that despite the vaccines, the pandemic would still be around in election 2022? Would that scare us into staying away from the poll precincts to vote online for whatever hidden agenda?

As of yesterday, based on DOH statistics, a total of 603,308 Covid cases had been recorded in the Philippines, of which 12,545 or only two percent of them had died.

In previous columns, I had expressed my opinion on why health authorities stress the “incurability” of the disease when the cited figures tell otherwise: It’s the Big Pharma’s way of drumming up dependence on vaccine as the only way to fight.

The Octa team calls itself “an independent and interdisciplinary research group composed primarily of the University of the Philippines’ faculty members and alumni.”

Why the use of this UP group as “adjunct” to DOH?  Is it because the SWS and Pulse Asia have lost credibility through unbelievable surveys, like that one overblowing the President’s “91 percent” trust and satisfaction ratings?

Expect Octa, therefore, to be the new pollster in the forthcoming 2022 elections. In fact, is has already advanced to be recognized. Remember, it was this team which declassified in February the result of its four-day survey showing the President’s daughter, Sara Duterte, leading its survey on possible presidential candidates.

She topped the poll with 22% of respondents choosing her above Sen. Grace Poe, 13%; Sen. Manny Pacquiao and former Sen. Bongbong Marcos, 12% each; and Manila Mayor Isko Moreno, 11%. Poor Vice-President Leni Robredo, she’s at the tail end with only 5%.

That reminds me of a defunct horror drama series on radio that always ended asking, “Katotohanan, o Guniguni?”



IT is not surprising that brownouts still haunt customers of MORE Electric and Power Corp. Why not when they miss doing what they must do?

It is not correct to say, however, that MORE Power as the sole power distributor in Iloilo City could have done something to avert power outages. Accidents may happen, leading to power trips-off.

There are also times when it’s the power suppliers – such as Panay Power, Aboitiz Renewable and Panay Energy Development Corp. – that conk out.

The end justifies the means here: Whenever MORE Power needs to rehabilitate defective power lines, as safety precaution it has to switch off certain feeders at the least possible time. This is the pill that both the power provider and power users must swallow to modernize the latter’s facilities.

Based on MORE Power President Roel Castro’s projection, they would have to spend at least P1.9 billion to modernize the distribution utility in the first three years of its 25-year franchise.

MORE has expropriated the aging distribution network of Panay Electric Co. (PECO) based on provisions of Republic Act 11212.