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Bacolod City, Philippines Saturday, June 13, 2020
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OPINIONS

No statistics from China?

Ninfa Leonardia

Yesterday was Philippine Independence Day. Of course our city and provincial officials marked it with the solemnity they have always given it, but understandably, the observance was lacking the usual big crowds and parades that used to accompany it. Even the weather was not cooperating, but that is not the first time, that happened. What we should still remind ourselves is that we are one of the members of the international community of nations, standing with pride along with the older and bigger, and wealthier ones.

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But then came the coronavirus, a.k.a. COVID-19, that became a great leveler of human beings, and no respecter of people, rich or poor. How many months have gone since it first came out of the Chinese city Wuhan? We do not blame China for it, of course, but, for once, I agree with the American president when he said that China should not have tried to keep the disease a secret, because, who knows? Something could have been done before it reached pandemic proportions.

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Have you noticed that we have not even heard reports as to the number of COVID-19 cases in China? While all other countries have been declaring their numbers openly. China, where it all came from, has hardly released news about its cases or casualties. Now, there is news on TV about its development of a vaccine against the coronavirus, and that they will share with the Philippines. Oh? Are we willing to be guinea pigs? Let them try it on their own people – those willing, of course – before sharing it with us.

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Even if they are supposed to be outcasts of society, having committed crimes against their fellowmen, we cannot help sympathizing with the inmates of our Bureau of Corrections, or Bilibid, where the COVID-19 has taken its toll that numbered 33 since June. And those were prisoners aging from 21 to 80 years old. Perhaps they had been jailed for not very serious crimes, but now have succumbed to a natural death sentence. It seems the isolation of those suspected of having the virus had not been effective.

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What a killjoy this typhoon “Butchoy” is! It had to come on a day when we are supposed to be celebrating one of our most important holidays. At least, though, it gives workers respite from going to work or being tardy, that is, if they have been called to duty already. And those who have to, will be struggling with transportation problems, as well as the risk of catching cold or fever, which are also symptoms of the COVID-19.

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Now the late George Floyd – remember him? The black man who died after a policeman held him down on the neck by stepping on it? The incident has aroused a big reaction from the black community who filled the streets with their protests that was joined even by some white people. All because of a case of police brutality, and it is not even known what crime Floyd had committed! Any report about police brutality always sets my blood boiling, because our family had a member who experienced it. I hope the policeman gets his just desserts.

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It does look, however, as if their president is not showing any concern on the matter. If he has issued a statement condemning the incident, I have not seen or heard any item in media about it. Seems all that is in his mind is the election, which, the way things are going, he may not find easy to hurdle. Even star athletes like Lebron James have gotten into action, and how many others of them are black, or on what side do you think he would be?

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A small kid, one of my nieces once asked my why some Americans are not good to the black people even if they are Americans, too. That baffled me, for a moment, but later, I told him it could be some lingering prejudice because the black man had first brought to the State as slaves. But many of them acquired education and got to demand their rights as citizens. Then, she asked, why are we kinder to the “atis” or the darker-skinned people who beg for alas in the streets? The only answer I could think of was that the “atis” were here, maybe even before us, and they were never slaves, and in fact, could be our original citizens. I hope nobody contradicts that.*

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