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Bacolod City, Philippines Thursday, May 14, 2020
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with Ninfa Leonardia
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For whom the bells toll

Ninfa Leonardia

Nobody likes typhoons, but suppose this one that is lurking over our country could be useful in washing away this virus from our atmosphere? Ah, that is just wishful thinking, but then, who knows? This COVID thing has been creating so many problems worldwide that we get the most outrageous ideas about how to send it away. In a way, though, we should still be thankful that, at least, its cases in our city, province and country are minimal compared to those in the big ones, like the United States and Russia.

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However, it is disturbing to hear about the emphasis on the “Balik Probinsya” program of the government. Is it not dangerous to encourage people from the bigger government units to descend on the rural areas, such as the towns, barrios and even the smaller cities? I hope the plan will be implemented after this virus has been conquered, or, at least, controlled. It is too dangerous to be let them loose in the smaller units of government where healthcare is inadequate. Not all of our towns have hospitals, in fact, some cities do not even have them.

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In the meantime, what is the latest on the ABS-CBN vs. National Telecommunication fiasco? Has Congress done its part already as it had declared last week? This is probably the worst time to deprived us of our information sources when warnings and advices about how to keep ourselves safe and free from infection are vital. And that information we can easily get from media sources like ABS-CBN, because print media is so limited now, although your DAILY STAR continues to do its best.

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Yesterday, I went out for the first time in several days to go to the hospital for tests required by my doctor. Even entry to the building itself was not easy, one has to go through a lot of protocols, but that is all right, they are “for our own good”. I was even able to laugh after some time, because I had thought all along that I am well known, but the Lab people wrote my family name as”LEONARISA” despite the prescription I submitted Well, we need to be humbled sometimes, and that was my day.

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I have not heard Church Bells ringing at noon as they are supposed to, because of my present “incarceration”. They are supposed to call attention to the case of the cancelled franchise of ABS-CBN, and to the suppression of press freedom as well as to the decision of the National Telecommunication Commission on the franchise of the network. But is the NTC listening? Someone should serenade its office with that old poem “For Whom the Bell Tolls”. that says “Do not ask for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee”.

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I had to go to the bank yesterday and there, too, the atmosphere was very different. No lines could be seen before the tellers’ cages, and even the staff was limited. I learned that they were taking alternate times to report, with a certain group every other week. But that does not seem so bad for the workers as I was told by one of them that they have more time to attend to housework and their families. So again, I quote, that “It’s an ill wind that blows no good”.

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A new term has come out regarding the status of the COVID-19 and it is MECQ, or Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine, and I think that Bacolod City is qualified under it I guess that is a good sign, although we do not know what the Coronavirus “guru”, Dr. Anthony Fauci thinks of it. But it sounds good, and unlike the situation in some United States areas where people just took it upon themselves to determine whether they can freely go out or not. As another expert commented, obviously shaking his head, “It’s too much, too soon”.*

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