Common sense will pay off in these COVID-19 times

By Anthony A. Araos

“Bottom line: common sense will pay off in these COVID-19 times. It is not hard to dismiss the notion that COVID-19 is not the problem. I worry more on the mounting cases of stupidity!”

At the Alfonso Lista coronavirus (COVID-19) disease Task Force meeting, MDRRMO officer Lolina Garcia cited the importance of social media in the information education campaign (IEC) in the effort to contain the problem in this part of the province. She’s right. However, most of Alfonso Lista’s folks don’t have laptops or computers. Most of them are poor. They can’t even afford to buy a half cavan of rice. That’s the big problem!
Earlier, I told her that the flyer being distributed by her office is not effective because it is written in English. Most folks don’t understand its contents. At one time, I asked an elderly if she knows the meaning of quarantine. She replied: “It is a biscuit!” Obviously, she mistook it for the Saltine brand of biscuit.
Another stall owner at the Food Court when shown the said flyer with the photograph of Governor Jerry Dalipog told me: “Kay Dalipog ako sa susunod na eleksyon!” (“I am for Dalipog in the next elections!”) She mistook it as a political flyer.
I’m glad the next day, flyers in the Philippine national language in “Tagalog” were distributed.
I’m commending Punong Barangay Jesus Toribio of Calupaan by steadfastly standing up to protect the land portions belonging to Alfonso Lista. Two other villages of Alfonso Lista are figuring in boundary disputes with villages of Isabela province.
Along with ABC (Association of Barangay Captains) president and Councilor Billy Gonsadan (who is the punong barangay of Sta. Maria), Punong Barangay Toribio coordinated with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on concerns related to the quarrying sites in the barangay. DENR personnel immediately acted on the request. This easily manifested the strong and firm hand of Punong Barangay Toribio in addressing the problem. In short, he exercised political will to safeguard the interest of the barangay.
Earlier, at the Liga ng mga Barangay (or the ABC), I spoke on the vitality of the town’s punong barangays (village chieftains) to speak up on this matter. “It is a simple ‘bullying case.’ Isabela vs Ifugao, to be more exact. There is no way for Isabela to bully Cagayan or Nueva Vizcaya, both large-sized provinces. So it went after pint-sized Ifugao,” I told them.
“Your opponent, just like in Muay-Thai boxing, has two hands and two feet. You’ve also got two hands and two feet. So don’t tell me, you’re walking out of the battle field. No one else is going to stand up for the Ifugao land except Ifugao officials like you. Remember how the epic battle of biblical characters David and Goliath started out and ended,” I added.
Anyhow, Punong Barangay Toribio has distinguished himself by working round-the-clock to improve the conditions of his constituents. He has prioritized the poverty reduction program of the national government and actively pushed for initiatives geared to upgrade the agriculture sector. Countless villagers are extremely glad that his pro-poor agenda is working to the best interest of the vast majority of the population.
Punong Barangay Toribio is hardworking, vibrant and articulate. He attends to the needs of the farmers, women, youth and elderly.
At the Liga ng mga Barangay, he extends strong and ample support to ABC president Gonsadan. He is the treasurer of the Liga. The future of Alfonso Lista, indeed, lies on well-meaning and dedicated public servants whose records are untarnished by corruption, inaction and incompetence. To my mind, one of them is Punong Barangay Toribio.
When this COVID-19 nightmare is finally over, I’d like to conduct a seminar on “Good Governance: What Ifugao officials can learn from Outstanding Punong Barangays of Alfonso Lista about responding to the people’s needs?” Main speaker: Punong Barangay Jesus Toribio.
To Punong Barangay Toribio: God bless and Mabuhay! Keep up the excellent work!
Brainy bite: What is the difference between the currencies of the United States of America (U.S.A.) and Canada? The currency of U.S.A. is the American dollar. While the currency of Canada is the Canadian dollar. According to the latest data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (Central Bank of the Philippines), the exchange rate to the Philippine peso is about PHp 50.85 and Php 38.17 to the US dollar and Canadian dollar, respectively.
It pays to know the importance of the American and Canadian dollars during these critical times. Many Filipinos have relatives who are working in the US and Canada. The number of American and Canadian nationals of Philippine descent is significant. All of them are sending remittances to their loved ones or kins in the Philippines. Not a few of them are in the rural areas. Remittances continue to keep afloat the country’s economy.
The BSP reported that the US registered the biggest share of overall remittances at 38.6 percent. It is followed by Japan, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Canada, Hong Kong and South Korea.
What’s the big deal with the foregoing discussion on the American and Canadian dollars? Be smart enough, to save a portion of the money received from abroad for the coming days, weeks and even months to come. In short, save for the rainy days!
They’re scrapping small and big or major events- sponsored by the private and public sectors, left and right, in the Philippines and many other countries throughout the world because of the dreaded coronavirus disease. Out here, officials opted not to hold anymore the Panagbenga Festival and the CARAA Meet, just a few to mention. Even the NBA and PBA games went to a sudden halt. Persons afflicted with COVID-19 are brought to hospitals for treatment. Just the same, there are a few officials who are still indifferent to the situation. They want to continue with the Gotad and Kulpis. They should also be brought to a hospital. They should be brought to the National Mental Hospital, to be more precise! Bring them now- by the quickest means, please!
Over at Lamut town, I just saw “banderitas” for the town fiesta at the town proper. Needless to say, pull them down!
Is it hard to understand the meaning of “Mass gatherings are banned!?” A group of two or more persons is considered a mass gathering. Or you don’t know how to count at all?
In Alfonso Lista, Mayor Edralin Alipio should immediately order religious sects and adherents of the Muslim faith to halt their services in the interest of public health and welfare. No ifs and buts! There are no exemptions!
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not telling our Christian and Muslim brothers and sisters not to pray to God and Allah, respectively, but may do so at the confines of their homes. There is no need whatsoever for them to gather for services or “bible studies” or go to their “mosque” to pray at this point. The incident at the Muslim “prayer hall” at the San Juan City mall is foretelling. It brought forth the first-ever case of “local transmission” of the COVID-19 disease.
Well, I’m praying for my loved ones, relatives and friends (as well as the Editor and Publisher, staff, columnists and readers of ZigZag Weekly) for their protection from this frightening disease. I’m even praying for my relatives abroad since some of them are in the US, Canada and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. I’m praying too that born-again Christians and Muslims get to see the light that there is a stark difference in staying alive and getting infected by the COVID-19 because of sheer fanaticism and ignorance.
I’m fine- not coughing, sneezing and having a fever. I hate to say it, but religious fanatics (to include Roman Catholics) make me utterly sick!
Attention: Mayor Alipio or Vice Mayor Agapito Dominguez Jr. should immediately conduct an “ocular inspection” at the town’s Food Court. Why? While Jollibee and McDonald’s food stores have banned “dine in” transactions and allowed only “take out” orders, there are still folks who are partaking their breakfast, lunch and dinner meals at the Food Court.
Additionally, there is a need to order the temporary closure- let’s say for two to three days, of the Food Court, and have it disinfected. Again, for public safety and welfare!
FREAKING NEWS, not BREAKING NEWS: An Ifugao town opted to use an “Ifugao hut” as a “Barangay Isolation Unit.” Clue: 18 such “Ifugao huts” are located in the ‘Tourism Village.’ During a COVID-19 Task Force meeting in another Ifugao town, a doctor said that barangay health units cannot be used as “isolation units.” What’s next? Kick out the doctor and bring in the “mumbaki?” Then start chanting and conducting some rituals? Alas, you’ll end up with record high cases of COFID-19.
Set aside science and rely on cultural beliefs to contain the COVID-19 ailment. There are surely some guys who are very sick in the mind. They are up to the stupidest idea I’ve ever heard in my life!
Bottom line: common sense will pay off in these COVID-19 times. It is not hard to dismiss the notion that COVID-19 is not the problem. I worry more on the mounting cases of Stupidity!
24/7 Heathy tidbits: If you still have the time and money to buy vitamins to protect yourself from the coronavirus disease, please do so. But them now- and quick before stocks run out. Go for long-established brands such as Enervon, Centrum or Fern-C, but not herbs and out-of-this-world concoctions. Since you’re told to just stay home during this long period of “community quarantine” take time to exercise on a daily basis. Exercising and taking vitamins complement each other. Stay healthy in these “abnormal times.” There is no other choice! Take better care of yourself.
Blooper in Ifugao: A few days back, just before the declaration of the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) officer in Alfonso Lista has been given some chores for a committee at the now-doomed Ammung fiesta. Organizers listed “DTI staff” as members of the said committee. The DTI-Alfonso Lista operates as a one-woman office. It has no personnel.
Finally, here is a thought for our dear readers: “Success seems to be connected with actions. Successful people keep moving. They make mistakes, but they don’t quit.” Conrad Hilton**

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