An investigative report: impact of Covid-19 in urban, rural areas

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By By Dr. Manny Jaudian, COPC President, and EVP Allan Mediante, Editor in Chief of Mindanao Daily News
July 3, 2020

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Fiesta No More

EASTERN Misamis Oriental--“One of the most COVID19-impacted area of the Filipino social life is culture and  spiritual tradition. Notwithstanding, the rule on no- hand -touching and social distancing which undermined a cherished cultural tradition of kissing the hand or forehead of our elders as a sign of respect and good manners, the other endangered tradition is fiesta celebration and other social gathering during cultural festivals which is the sign and spirit of “Filipino Hospitality.”  This was the observation of Brgy chair Raffy Rayon Mendoza of Poblacion, Talisayan, Misamis Oriental when interviewed by the MDN-COPC Reportorial Team.

“Sadly, there will be less or no more sense of community merriment  and thanksgiving when we celebrate our Fiesta of Nuestra Senora del Carmen this coming July 16,” according to 65-year old resident Cesar Balabag who was also separately interviewed.  He said Talisaynons will surely miss the “mamistahay “ scene which Catholic households cherish. Talisaynons from the affluent down to poverty-throdden families are happy to welcome visitors to their homes during fiesta-days, and prepare food for the “mamistahays” even during the vespers eve until the ” liwas” (post fiesta day)  he added.

Brgy chair Mendoza, on the other hand, said his council already met with the town priest and church leaders, together with Mayor Rommel Maslog, and had mapped out plans for this year’s “fiesta celebration..”  “There will be no more sports fest, no more cultural programs in  our gymnasium, no more sabong (cockfights). Even during thanksgiving mass, there will be social distancing and other church-goers who cannot be accommodated will have chairs outside, at the nearby park, and a wide screen will be put-up showing the video of the mass, “ Mendoza added.

Mayor Maslog commented that in the new normal, households will be requested to refrain from spending too much for the fiesta to avoid many visitors which may destroy social distancing, and possible Covid-contamination. Fiesta preparations could be limited only for family members and few visitors, he added.

The Poblacion barangay council members under Mendoza, however, expressed some positive out-come on this fiesta policy, such as : government budget spending for festivities will be reduced and could instead be used to bolster health funds in the  ongoing fight against Covid.  Some members also commented that there is a positive impact in encouraging no lavish fiesta celebration. They said many families go to the extent of borrowing money or even loans with banks just to have something for the fiesta.

Zero Covid Case

Mayor Maslog and Brgy chair Mendoza claimed that they have zero Covid case. The local government units here have efficiently implemented the strict health protocol emanating from the national IATF, regional and provincial regulations.

Maslog said the town now has sufficient quarantine and isolation facilities, thermal scanners, swab tests and PPEs for frontliners which composed of their BHWs and Tanods.  “I have even converted our newly-finished Training Center into a quarantine facility,” Maslog added.

Mendoza, on the other hand commented that they are lucky and happy that there is no single Covid case in their town.” We owe this to the efficiency and hard-work of our barangay health workers and tanods.  When there are reports on LSIs or visitors coming in, they immediately require quarantine measures be followed, Mendoza said. He added that they have sufficient number of isolation rooms, and even use abandoned houses for use of PUI’s.

On the national support via amelioration programs, Maslog added that they are quite satisfied with the schedules on distribution and instructions. With report from Gerry Lee Gorit, correspondent, and Richard dela Cruz, Eagle Broadcasting Corp.


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