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Bacolod City, Philippines Tuesday, August 25, 2020
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Hold on to your sanity!

Ninfa Leonardia

What is happening to our country! I forget now who originally said that, but it is now a question Filipinos should be asking. This occurred to me when I heard the news that the government is trying to hire more psychiatrists and psychologists to deal with the mental disturbances that have been attacking our people. Indeed, one cannot blame those who lose their wits while trying to cope with all the abnormal circumstances we are facing now, like this vicious pandemic that continues to puzzle the best and brightest medical doctors and scientists of the world.

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Aside from the psychologists and psychiatrists who are now in demand, guidance counselors are also being invited to come forward and apply for work with the government and help it deal with the mental and emotional problems that are taking a toll on the mental health of the people. And this is an ailment that is more likely to strike the people in the cities and the more educated ones who are aware of the mental stress all these current problems are wrecking on them.

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So, the best advice that could be given to those people who cannot cope with the weight of the pandemic and how it could affect their loved ones, or the economic setbacks that are affecting their earning power, should hold themselves back, and remember that we are not the only ones affected by this multitude of incomprehensible problems. The entire world, save for a few small countries that have little contacts with others, is battling this mysterious disease, and our only hope is in those countries whose scientists and medical experts are reportedly nearing a cure or vaccine for it, that may be available by the end of this year.

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In the meantime, the best thing to do is to hold on to your sanity and pray with all your heart that Our Lord who created us, will take pity on us, forgive us the offenses we have committed against Him and remove this newly discovered virus that, in so short a time, has already wrought so much in sickness and death in almost every country. Doesn’t it puzzle you also that the bigger countries, the more casualties they seem to have recorded? And our prayers should not only be for the safety of our own, but for those medical minds to be inspired to know how to find both a cure and a vaccine to prevent further cases from coming up everywhere.

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Meanwhile, will classes resume in our country despite the still unsolved and unconquered problem of this virus that China has gifted the world? Me, I very often wonder why we very seldom, or practically never, hear reports from that country about the cases they have chalked up involving it? Could it only be because we in the provinces no longer have access to print media from the country’s capital, and television also very seldom carries news from it? One cannot help wondering if there is a lockdown on news from there. The last news I myself heard was about a “fiesta” and grand celebration in Wuhan, the city where the virus came from.

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But it is also inspiring to hear about the number of recoveries from this pandemic, despite the fact that it is very disproportionate to the number of fatalities also recorded. Among the latest recovery to be announced was that of Senator Bong Revilla who was quoted as being very grateful to his doctors and nurses for the way they had attended to him. In Bacolod and in our province, Negros Occidental, we are heartened by reports of some recoveries, but another problem seems to be coming up.

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This is the announcement that more LSIs, or Locally Stranded Individuals, are coming home to our city and province soon, and, of course, we cannot reject them or turn them away, as they are our own people. The worrisome thing is that the very first time such LSIs started coming, there was also a rise in cases of the COVID-19 in our city and province. I hope that by now, we already have foolproof ways of welcoming them and isolating them safely for the required period to be sure that they are not carrying the virus with them. We can’t be too careful, because of its very contagious nature, so, to our arriving LSIs – No hard feelings, please!

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Meanwhile, the Republican Party of the United States has already started its convention where it will formally endorse the man who will represent them in the presidential race. Of course there is no doubt, I think, that, being the incumbent, Donald Trump will be a shoo-in for the candidacy. But will he be able to overcome all the negative things being said and written about him, even from his own relatives? But that does not seem to bother him. When his own sister said he has no principles, he shot back “Who cares?” What do American voters think of that?*

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