Leadership in the fight against COVID-19
The President answered with threat the petition of medical front liners to place Mega Manila and surrounding provinces under Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) again to give them time to recover from sheer exhaustion. The period was also for health officials and the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) dealing with COVID-19 to come up with a new plan on how to combat the pandemic.
Immediately the social media platforms were abuzz with condemnation of the constitution of the IATF. Many of its members are generals while other countries that successfully flattened the curve of the disease had doctors and medical scientists calling the shots. In short, medical experts not generals are the need of the hour.
It was expressly mentioned in the petition that the medical facilities of Mega Manila were already overwhelmed. Also there but between the lines was the low of morale due to lack of a credible medical plan against COVID-19 that medical experts can vouch for. One that is comprehensive and effective.
The President then placed Mega Manila under Modified ECQ. Any modification was negligible. The word ‘modified’ was placed there for the President to save face. So he will not appear incompetent in handling the pandemic. Well, it must have been his men who were incompetent but the buck stops before him.
As aforesaid, the President’s default reaction was to threaten the medical front liners not to demean the government. But there was no demeaning there, much less was it a revolt in the making. They were just delivering what should have been obvious but not being dealt with decisively. Lack of a comprehensive and effective plan, that the commanders of the fight against the enemy need to be replaced or that they have to reinvent themselves, if at all that is possible.
Then there is the exhaustion of the front liners and the overwhelming of systems and facilities. An effective leadership should have anticipated these. Why did all these have to come down to this? Right from the very beginning, medical front liners were already not getting enough sleep compromising their immune systems and many of them died. And yet not much effort was exerted to increase their number so they could get enough rest after a certain period. Not much effort was also exerted to ensure their protection from the disease through proper protective gears and equipment.
In the beginning also was the certainty of so many covid positive OFWs’ coming home. This and other factors such as infections in our slum areas and the failure of citizens to follow medical protocols, would increase the number of confirmed cases exponentially. Yet not enough was done to commensurately increase our medical capacity to deal with such.
All of these resulted in low morale. Not ensuring high morale among the ranks in any fight means incompetent leadership. Also the lack of humility to accept and learn from one’s mistakes in the battlefield means the same.**