opinion

Moreno’s character, wisdom shines amid COVID-19 crisis

March 25, 2020

Charlotte, North Carolina—Good day to you dear readers,  I sincerely hope that all of you are doing well at your homes as each one of us around the world are on mandated ‘staycation mode’ while our governments and their health personnel wage war against the unseen enemy that is COVID-19. As I write this, I had just finished my online broadcast on Monday (March 23 Philippine time) at 105.5 Bay Radio FM Way Kurat, the radio station based in Balingasag town in which I talked about whether sex is safe in the time of COVID-19 (it is unsafe based the on global health guidelines requiring social distancing).  Truly this virus which came from Communist China had upended the lives of everyone on this planet, including my husband Ronnie and I who had to take extra care of ourselves being senior citizens. It also took me a week to see for myself how Cagayan de Oro City Hall under Mayor Oscar Moreno’s administration had responded to this global health crisis and I can say that, pending a major development, that the mayor and his allies had done quite the remarkable job of keeping COVID-19 out of the city. Let us repeat one fact that the mayor’s most malicious and vicious critics as well as those that either are too panicked that they can’t think straight or those with a hidden agenda—yes, there are still those who think of gaining political brownie points in this time of a global health crisis—conveniently ignore and bury under their  mountain of fake news, social media bashing and unfounded, noisy demands for a citywide lockdown: there is NO LOCAL TRANSMISSION OF COVID-19 IN CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY SO FAR, based on the latest findings by the Department of Health (DOH-10) and the City Health Office. What is being done right now by the Moreno administration is intensified preemptive, preventive measures aimed at keeping everyone in Cagayan de Oro City, including those heading to the city’s hospitals for treatment of ailments other than respiratory illnesses that could lead to COVID-19, such as dialysis and even therapy. **************** Hence the temporary closure of malls and non-essential businesses such as movie theaters which can draw large crowds who are at risk of infection, a 10 pm to 5 a.m curfew and opening of essential services like grocery stores, supermarkets, hospitals, clinics, convenience stores and restaurants and food outlets that offer takeout in order to encourage people to stay at home. Yes, the main point of these intensive, preemptive, preventive measures as Mayor Moreno kept repeating in his daily press briefings at the mayor’s conference room, is to compel people to stay at home and avoid for the meantime unnecessary activities that would expose them to the very real risk of COVID-19 infection. At the same time, Mayor Moreno displayed not only calm, but courage guided by wisdom in implementing a calibrated response to the global health threat of COVID-19 by allowing people to still enter and leave the city provided they are screened and processed at the checkpoints, seaports and Laguindingan airport and declared safe by health personnel to enter or stop over at the city’s borders. Moreno’s wisdom and grace under pressure was prominently displayed in his decision to allow a boatload of passengers who were turned away at a seaport in Nasipit town, Agusan del Norte province to dock at the Macabalan port where they were immediately examined and declared safe by health workers. About 491 passengers of MV St. Francis Xavier were declared safe for travel to eastern Mindanao where they were headed to after coming from Manila, where most of the COVID-19 cases had originated.  The passengers rode in buses and were advised to undergo a two-week home quarantine just to be on the safe side. **************** In deciding to allow the Ro-Ro vessel to dock at Macabalan port, Mayor Moreno cited humanitarian grounds as basis and this incident merely showed to everyone not only Mayor Moreno’s wisdom but his character as both public official and as a person.  Any other public official of lesser or zero substance would have panicked and turned these passengers away. When news broke out about this incident, one idiot in social media who I will not name for his sake questioned why the passengers were not quarantined inside the vessel for two weeks.  This idiot apparently expected both the city government and the vessel owner to feed and maintain all 491 passengers during their imposed quarantine. In fact, I can only describe as idiotic the demand by not a few Cagayan de Oro City based  netizens for a citywide lockdown which Mayor Moreno pointed out time and again would make life difficult for outsiders seeking medical assistance in the city. The demand is driven mostly by their expectation that government will bring essentials like food right at their doorsteps. Last time I checked, Cagayan de Oro City Hall allocated a P7.5 billion budget for 2020 and owing to these extraordinary times, the city government is well-advised to use the funds judiciously including the allocation of calamity funds.  It won’t surprise me if that P7.5 billion budget would be depleted in a few months if the city does decide to bring essentials to the city’s entire 750,000 population. But enough of the critics who don’t have the complete picture of the city’s situation in relation to the countrywide quarantine.  Suffice it to say that these critics should produce incontrovertible, unimpeachable evidence to justify a citywide lockdown and not just their laughably pathetic alibi that Cagayan de Oro City should impose a lockdown because other local governments are doing it.

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Covid-19: a lesson learned for all

March 17, 2020

It has been for almost a month, the corona virus (Covid-19) spread throughout the world. All countries get shocked. People in every country get panic. Governments and their leaders get upset due to the Covid.19. This virus was formely found in Wuhan, the city in China. Now, it has sprd all over the world. It needs pondering. The Covid-19 outbreak is a lesson learned for the nations throughout the world. People are on the same feeling. All nations in any country throughout the world are feeling the same. We are scared. We are terrorized. In fact, this covid.19 outbreak is the most cruel terrorist we have ever seen. Not all country has examined the effect of corona issue on their economy decline. But, ij China itself, this corona cirus ourbreak has made their economy collaps.  As it is reported by Helen Davidson, the Guardian (16/3/2020), it has made China’s economy drop drastically.  In China, industrial output fell 13.5% in January-February. Fixed asset investment also fell 24.5%. Private sector investment also fell by 26/4%. Still other sector that is retail sales shrank by 20.6%. This is the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak in China as it was found in Wuhan city in that country. We believe that this can also occur in other countries. As reported by Bloomberg (6/3/2020), in China, automobile sales plunged 80%, passenger traffic was down 85%. As it is predicted, China economy won’t get better due to this corona outbreak. How about other countries. What we can eyewitness is only the chaos of the nations. Many all the nations throughout the world get panic. They order schools to stop their teaching and learning processes. They also order all agencies, government and privates offices to stop operation. They can wotrk from home. In my country, Indonesia, from today (while I am writing this article), Sunday, March 15, 2020, people are instructed to stay at home. I also begin working from home. All the classes are held in online ways. I also write some program ot learning on the website of e-learning. All my students are stayinmg at home while they are also doing their assigment by online learning. All the nations in the globe have the same enemy: corona outbreak. This si the phenomenon, encountering all the people throughout the world. We are feeling the same. But, the most cruel one in this case is the Covid.19. In fact, Corona virus is the most cruel terrorist in the world.  We had had an epidemic few years ago: Avian flu. It was also the tragedy years ago but the effect on the global economy was not as a serious as Corona virus. Avian influenza is caused by a virus but do not infect people globally. The human infection with this virus have been reported due to the carrier by the infected birds.  The birds shed avian influenza virus in their saliva, mucous and feces. Human infections with bird flu viruses can happen when enough virus gets into a person’s eyes, nose or mouth, or is inhaled. It is spread through the air. The virus outbreak was not so devastating like the Covid.19. The effect of avian influenza was not as disastrous as Corona virus outbreak today. Yet, Covid-19 is a lesson learned for all human beings in the world. If this virus exist naturally, it will be the problem medically to learn. There must be some efforts in medical schools for innovation. Innovation to create the panacea.  The medical; schools have time to work hard. They have to find the medicine for this corona virus.However, if the corona virus was intentionally created by the human beings— and it is uncontrollable—the human beings should be responsible for it. It is the cruelest terrorist in the world. If not, then we have to learn from this tragedy.  What we have to do is the human rights in innovation. There must be regulation. There must be rules-based innovation.  A lesson learned from corona virus is clear. We cannot live in the globe in isolation. We have to be peaceful. We have to be friendly. We have to be understanding one another. This tragedy provides us with evidence that all human beings are created by the same Creator. We are, in general, the same: scared of being dead: the Covid-19 outbreak has the effect on all of us. It is a lesson learned.  Dr. Djuwari is the director of language laboratory at STIE Perbanas Surabaya, the editor of some research journals in the Philippines and Indonesia. He is also a journalist in some newspapers in Indonesia; the president of international association of scholarly publishers, editors, and reviewers (IASPER).

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Mitigation, not lockdown is best for CDO

March 17, 2020

Charlotte, North Carolina—As I write this, President Rodrigo Duterte had yet to make official confirmation of so-called ‘enhanced community quarantine’ in Metro Manila and the rest of Luzon in order to contain the spread of the COVID-19. Again as I write this, the number of COVID-19 cases rose to 140 and the death toll is now at 12 and anyone in the communication business knows the numbers will fluctuate higher or lower whichever is the case. What is clear for now at least in Cagayan de Oro City is that there is NO LOCAL TRANSMISSION of the secondary kind and that Patient 40 who died at the Northern Mindanao Medical Center (NMMC) is not from the city but someone who worked in Pasig and went to Lanao province before being admitted to an Iligan City hospital for severe acute respiratory infection. Thanks to the doctors there, Patient 40 was tested and he had the misfortune of testing positive for SARS-COV 2, the causative agent for the now dreaded COVID-19 or coronavirus 2019, the year It was discovered. During Monday morning’s (March 16) press briefing at the mayor’s conference room, Mayor Oscar Moreno assumed responsibility for the victim’s burial at the Bolonsiri public cemetery in Barangay Camanan-an, saying all precautions were taken and the wishes of the victim’s family honored with a simple burial out of respect for their Islamic beliefs. Like any Kagay-anon or Misamisnon—I was born in Tagoloan town and spent a good chunk of my media career in Cagayan de Oro City—I kept tabs through friends and social media contacts about the contingency measures undertaken by the Moreno administration at Cagayan de Oro City Hall to protect the city from COVID-19 and based on what the mayor said and what his administration had done so far, it is quite good to say the least. I also saw the negative comments which can turn downright nasty against Mayor Moreno’s decision not to impose a lockdown on the city and he acknowledged this social media bashing yet admirably stood his ground believing that his decisions and policies will ultimately be beneficial to Kagay-anons. I hope to God that it will be so. It’s quite easy for these armchair experts to make shout outs in social media, deriding and downright insulting Mayor Moreno for his reluctance to declare a lockdown in the city. But let’s not resort to the all-too-common caveat cited by parochial traditional politicians whose decisions are questioned by their critics by telling these naysayers ‘mag-mayor sa muna kayo (you run first for mayor).’ Rather let us at first sift through the posts to determine if there is any wisdom or shred of evidence that would support the argument for a lockdown and based on what I read, the only common reason they came up with is that other local governments are doing it, why not Cagayan de Oro? And surprise, surprise, these pro-lockdown proponents expect the city government to provide them food and other essentials straight to their doorsteps for at least three to four days or however long this COVID-19 crisis will last. Am thinking aloud, how much would it cost the city government to actually do what these lockdown supporters want, nay demand and expect? The city government has a P7 billion budget allocated for 2020 and the funds are appropriated for a host of concerns like peace and order, education, infrastructure and so on. The city has 700,000 plus city residents so can the city government afford to do this? These critics should do the math if only to support their argument. In fact they should do more than math, they should produce incontrovertible, undisputable evidence that would justify a total or even partial lockdown of Cagayan de Oro City. In fact what Mayor Moreno is doing right now and which I fully support, is mitigation. And please, trolls and pro-lockdown proponents, post something more useful than screaming social media posts and actually help the medical staff, doctors and nurses that are at the frontline making sure that COVID-19 won’t infect any city resident. Am I making it clear that it’s not easy for Mayor Moreno to make these decisions, unpopular though it may be to the rest of the city populace? I understand the fear and sentiments since I also have family living in Cagayan de Oro but as Mayor Moreno said, closing the city’s borders will dislocate the patients from other parts of northern Mindanao who have sought or are already undergoing treatment for other ailments as well as shut down government offices in the city who service other constituents outside of Cagayan de Oro. I understand that the city government will extend some assistance to the daily wage, ‘no work, no pay’ workers whose livelihood will be affected by the temporary closure of malls that Moreno ordered as a mitigation measure. And other mitigation measures that include the temporary suspension of the night markets, a 10 pm-5 am curfew starting on March 17 and continued operation of essential businesses, such as supermarkets, grocery stores, even food outlets that can serve their customers in their premises or encourage them to order takeout instead. I could continue to argue my points but I’m too tired to justify them to those people who are adamantly close minded in their belief that a lockdown will solve the city’s problems on COVID-19.  What I do want to say is that Cagayan de Oro City residents should not panic and let these naysayers cause them to take drastic action that they will surely regret. It is by God’s grace that these pro lockdown proponents are not holding the reins of power at City Hall lest they do something that will screw up everyone in the city, a predicament we can ill afford. For once, let’s get our heads straight, focus on keeping COVID-19 out of the city by staying at home, keeping ourselves clean and supporting our health workers. It is time for to be resilient. God bless us all (For questions and comments please email at susanap@yahoo.com)

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From Charlotte to Balingasag and CDO

March 12, 2020

Charlotte, North Carolina—Before we talk about the pandemic that is COVID-19, allow me dear readers to thank the man who made possible my ‘return’ of sorts to radio broadcasting.   I knew Monching Ong as one of the TV technicians that I worked with at the defunct Cagayan de Oro College (COC) Broadcasting network in the early millennium. Years later through various reunions with the old COC TV-radio crew, I learned that Monching now owns 105.5 FM, Bay Radio Way Kurat.   I am proud of Monching for being able to set up his own radio station which is his passion. I remembered seeing him tinker with electronic devices and how he is called on to trouble shoot transmitter equipment.  This is yet proof positive that with talent, guts and focus, anyone can go far in his or her life.   A brief backgrounder: Bay Radio started in Sept. 8, 2013 with its station and transmitter located in Balingasag town, Misamis Oriental. Its reach covers the towns of Binuangan to Laguindingan town where the airport is located to Cagayan de Oro City and some parts of Bukidnon province.                     **************************   It’s slowly making a name for itself in the local broadcast community. Bay Radio is so named since Balingasag town is known for its beautiful baywalk. And it’s high time that this town, birthplace of incumbent Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Oscar Moreno, makes its mark in the province.   Anyway, Bay Radio offers music and information just like any FM station these days whose programming is a mix of music and information. By the way, I remembered working with RMN Dxcc in the early 90s for the late Lorie de la Serna, then TV program director.   Back then, RMN-TV 8 already combined music and news in its programming and in fact wanted to adopt the same programming at its FM station dxVM.  Dela Serna was ahead of his time and what he proposed then had become regular fare for today’s radio stations.   Back to Bay Radio, I have a regular program with a 7 a.m to 8 a.m slot on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. I invite everyone to tune in to my program and also to the program of Balingasag Mayor Alexis Quina hosted by Jun Fermo which is doing a great job informing residents of Balingasag town.                   **************************   And I love being back on radio. To be honest, I missed being on radio after I migrated to the US a decade ago.  Through my radio program, I can keep my finger on the local public’s pulse amid the backdrop of local, national and international social-economic and political developments.   I could not remember the number of times Monching invited me to host a program on his radio station, which I initially found preposterous until I realized how technology made it possible for people to communicate with each other across distances.   So thanks to technology,  I find myself hosting a radio program in the comfort of my home here in Charlotte, North Carolina and wonder of wonders, my program can be seen and heard all over the world.   The world is indeed getting smaller thanks to technology. And it feels great to learn that I still have a platform to discuss issues and be a catalyst for positive change in society as we know it. Indeed, Balingasag town is fortunate to host Bay Radio FM Way Kurat.           ***************************   Speaking of international developments, what I feared would happen had now come to pass as I learned through my social media feed that the Department of Health (DOH-10) regional office confirmed that a 54-year-old patient tested positive for COVID-19 at the Northern Mindanao Medical Center (NMMC).   As I write this I learned that Mayor Oscar Moreno was scheduled to hold a press conference at 10 a.m  Philippine time Thursday (March 12) with local DOH doctors and I will reserve most of my comments and assessment for my next column which hopefully sees print sometime this week or next week.   Rep. Rolando Uy of Cagayan de Oro City’s first district already issued a press statement calling on city residents to keep calm, stay vigilant and strictly observe self-hygiene while monitoring the latest official pronouncements from the DOH and the city government.   In my previous column, I wrote about the stringent health checks imposed on travelers like my husband Ronnie and myself when we boarded our flights from Manila all the way to Charlotte. Back then I said the threat of COVID-19 is real and that threat had now reached the doorsteps of the City of Golden Friendship.

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Perfectionism

March 12, 2020

MANY of us believe perfectionism is a positive. You may count me in. More often than I’d like to admit, something seemingly inconsequential will cause the same feeling to rear its head again. Something as small as accidentally squashing the makeup, I was bringing my first girlfriend’s family for Christmas can tumble around in my mind for several days, accompanied by occasional voices like “How stupid!” and “You should have known better”. Falling short of a bigger goal, even when I know achieving it would be near-impossible, can temporarily flatten me. When a former agent told me that she knew I was going to write a book someday but that the particular idea I’d pitched her didn’t suit the market, I felt deflated in a gut-punching way that went beyond disappointment. The negative drowned out the positive. “You’re never going to write a book,” my internal voice said. “You’re not good enough.” That voice didn’t care that this directly contradicted what the agent actually said. And, up to now, I didn't finish my first book, yet... It's already 2020... . That’s the thing about perfectionism. It takes no prisoners. If I’ve struggled with perfectionism, I’m far from alone. The tendency starts young – and it’s becoming more common. Thomas Curran and Andrew Hill’s recent meta-analysis of rates of perfectionism from 1989 to 2016, the first study to compare perfectionism across generations, found significant increases among more recent undergraduates in the US, UK and Canada. In other words, the average college student last year was much more likely to have perfectionistic tendencies than a student in the 1990's or early 2000's. “As many as two in five kids and adolescents are perfectionists,” says Katie, who researches child development and perfectionism at West Virginia University. “We’re starting to talk about how it’s heading toward an epidemic and public health issue.” The rise in perfectionism doesn’t mean each generation is becoming more accomplished. It means we’re getting sicker, sadder and even undermining our own potential. Here is another great example: a perfectionist, French Claude Monet often destroyed his paintings in a temper while saying, ‘My life has been nothing but a failure'. Perfectionism, after all, is an ultimately self-defeating way to move through the world. It is built on an excruciating irony: making, and admitting, mistakes is a necessary part of growing and learning and being human. It also makes you better at your career and relationships and life in general. By avoiding mistakes at any cost, a perfectionist can make it harder to reach their own lofty goals. But the drawback of perfectionism isn’t just that it holds you back from being your most successful, productive self. Perfectionistic tendencies have been linked to a laundry list of clinical issues: depression and anxiety (even in children), self-harm, social anxiety disorder and agoraphobia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, binge eating, anorexia, bulimia, and other eating disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, chronic fatigue syndrome, insomnia, hoarding, dyspepsia, chronic headaches, and, most damning of all, even early mortality and suicide. “It’s something that cuts across everything, in terms of psychological problems,” says Sarah Egan, a senior research fellow at the Curtin University in Perth who specializes in perfectionism, eating disorders and anxiety. Culturally, I learned, we often see perfectionism as a positive. Even saying you have perfectionistically tendencies can come off as a coy compliment to yourself; it’s practically a stock answer to the “What’s your worst trait?” question in job interviews. (Past employers, now you know! I wasn’t just being cute). It is difficult to tell who is motivated and conscientious and who is a perfectionist. In my daily teaching in Davao , I met the student who works hard and gets a poor mark. If she/her tells herself: “I’m disappointed, but it’s okay; I’m still a good person overall,” that’s healthy. If the message is: “I’m a failure. I’m not good enough,” that’s perfectionism. That inner voice criticizes different things for different people – work, relationships, tidiness, fitness. My own tendencies may differ greatly from somebody else’s. It can take someone who knows me well to pick up on them. (When I messaged one of my friends I was writing this story, he immediately sent back a long line of laughing emojis). Perfectionists can make smooth sailing into a storm, a brief ill wind into a category-five hurricane. At the very least, they perceive it that way. And, because the ironies never end, the behaviors perfectionists adapt ultimately, actually, do make them more likely to fail. Thinking of perfectionism, makes me think of my own childhood peppered with avoiding (or starting and quitting) almost every sport there was. If I wasn’t adept at something almost from the get-go, I didn’t want to continue – especially if there was an audience watching. In fact, multiple studies have found a correlation between perfectionism and performance anxiety even in children as young as 10. Mental health problems aren’t just caused by perfectionism; some of these problems can lead to perfectionism, too. One recent study, for example, found that over a one-year period, college students who had social anxiety were more likely to become perfectionists – but not vice versa. In many ways, poorer health outcomes for perfectionists aren’t that surprising. “Perfectionists are pretty much awash with stress. Even when it’s not stressful, they’ll typically find a way to make it stressful,” says Gordon Flett, who has studied perfectionism for more than 30 years and whose assessment scale developed with Paul Hewitt is considered a gold standard. Plus, he says, if your perfectionism finds an outlet in, say, workaholism, it’s unlikely you’ll take many breaks to relax – which we now know both our bodies and brains require for healthy functioning. After all, many of us live in societies where the first question when you meet someone is what you do for a living. Where we are so literally valued for the quality and extent of our accomplishments that those achievements often correlate, directly, to our ability to pay rent or put food on the table. Where complete strangers weigh these on-paper values to determine everything from whether we can rent that flat or buy that car or receive that loan. Where we then signal our access to those resources with our appearance – these shoes, that physique – and other people weigh that, in turn, to see if we’re the right person for a job interview or dinner invitation. Fear of failure is getting magnified in other ways, too. Take social media: make a mistake today and your fear that it might be broadcast, even globally, is hardly irrational. At the same time, all of those glossy feeds reinforce unrealistic standards. In my opinion, and I am not alone with it, it’s the idea that you don’t have to be perfect to be lovable or to be loved. It’s a work in progress. And,  what I’ve noticed too, is that, each time I’m able to replace criticizing and perfecting with compassion, I feel not only less stressed, but freer. Apparently, that’s not unusual. +++ Email: doringklaus@gmail.com or follow me in Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter or visit my www.germanexpatinthephilippines.blogspot.com or www.klausdoringsclassicalmusic.blogspot.com

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Splendid isolation

March 7, 2020

SOCIAL anxiety is the single most common psychological problem according to innumerable survey results worldwide. The magnificent, gorgeous and excellent isolation, resulting out of being nervous when meeting people is really the opposite. The state of being isolated, reminds me of being in a hospital with an infectious disease. Especially nowadays while experiencing the Coronavirus spreading all around the world. Does the project of giving a speech or going to a social gathering give you the willies? Relax, there are always ways and solutions to help you by teaching you "never to be nervous again". I have been always the most silent pupil in elementary and high school. I was ashamed even to talk to or with my teachers. Several terrible school records have been the result. But, I wanted to become a journalist. I am still one. And, I was  teaching 12 years at an university. I will be teaching again German language soon at Ateneo de Davao. During college times and while writing my first articles, I learned from my first boss, a daily news publisher, to avoid being nervous while meeting people. I was always prepared. Preparation for any communicating situation is a must. I have been invited to many parties and gatherings. I always asked for the guest list. I scanned all newspapers and browsed in the net. "In your opinion, who..." or "What do you think of....?" kept the momentum going. That was sometime during the 1960's. Since that time I was just very lucky to meet always the right people at the right time and place, which kept on teaching me how to avoid splendid isolation. Whether you're delivering a speech, approaching your boss, or joining an important social occasion, do at first your homework. The most polished, smoothly delivered and spontaneous soundings talks are the result of many hours of work and years long experiences. The memorable one-liners and moving phrases that went down in history didn't come from the last minute bursts of inspiration. I also learned from Harvard University historian Richard Marius, "that good writing is a kind of wresting with thought". Or, as New York Times columnist William Safire expressed before: "To communicate, put your thoughts in order, give them a purpose, use them to persuade, to instruct, to discover, to seduce!" Let's don't forget, that everyone of us has something to be proud of, and that everyone enjoys talking about it. But, you have to make it happen! +++ Email: doringklaus@gmail.com or follow me in Facebook, Linkedin or Twitter or visit www.germanexpatinthephilippines.blogspot.com or www.klausdoringsclassicalmusic.blogspot.com.

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