Rockingham, North Carolina—I read to much lament a press statement issued last week by Rep. Rolando ‘Klarex’ Uy confirming that he and his wife, Barangay Carmen captain Lorna V. Uy were stricken by COVID-19.
The confirmation came days after Patag Barangay chairperson Mari Cor Calizo, wife of City Councilor Romeo Calizo, died just as she was recovering from symptoms caused by COVID-19. In his press statement, Congressman Klarex said he and his wife checked into a medical facility for treatment.
Prayers and expressions of support poured to the Uy family as shown in the thousands of posts in their respective Facebook pages. This only showed how well-loved the couple are not only by their constituents but political allies and friends. At a glance, what happened to them showed only that 1. COVID-19 is real and not a conspiracy 2. The Uys were bound to be hit owing to their daily exposure to their constituents.
Until now, there are people who refuse to acknowledge COVID-19 for reasons known only to them. They likewise refuse to follow minimum public health protocols of physical distancing, wearing of face masks and face shields and washing or disinfecting of hands. Others would only think of their safety on knowing that one of their friends contract the virus, dismissing and shunning them like how the general populace shunned the lepers of old.
There’s no doubt that there is that COVID-19 pandemic fatigue setting in among Pinoys. Here in the US as I said before, some states like North Carolina are easing restrictions. North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper lifted the law requiring the wearing of face masks outdoors after two-thirds of the state’s population were vaccinated. But sadly the same cannot be said in the Philippines, said to have the longest lockdown mode in the world.
Again, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Uys’ predicament will be exploited for political mileage—then of course there is that report of a city official who’s been called out for holding a ‘male beauty pageant’ amid the rising COVID-19 cases in Cagayan de Oro City. The unbelievers will remain antagonistic until one of their loved ones are infected with the virus.
That said, there is much to hope and admire from Congressman Klarex and his wife who assured that their offices will continue to serve the people of Cagayan de Oro City despite their non-presence. It only showed their sustained commitment to their constituents who have endured much due to the pandemic but were helped tremendously by the Uy couple. Barangay Gusa chairman Marlo Tabac said it was only a matter of time before Congressman Klarex and ‘Kapitana’ Uy were hit by the virus due to the volume of city residents visiting their home despite or because of the pandemic.
I am a personal witness to the fact that the Uy family home is open to all especially before the pandemic. And even during the pandemic, constituents still come to the Uy home, knowing their pleas for assistance won’t be ignored or rejected by either ‘Kapitana Uy’ or Congressman Klarex. And owing to his previous stint as Carmen barangay chairman, Uy will go out of his way to talk and assure them of his help.
In these uncertain times, they have staff to handle these requests for assistance but still there are residents who want to talk personally to the Uys. And we don’t know if any of them were asymptomatic or showed some symptoms and thus somehow infected the couple. Yet they remain steadfast as always which is some small cheer to their followers, allies, friends and families.
I need not remind dear friends and readers how Congressman Klarex publicly supported and mobilized support to the Center for Emerging-Reemerging Infectious Diseases (CEREID) facility that Cagayan de Oro City Hall under Mayor Oscar Moreno’s administration turned oiver to the Northern Mindanao Medical Center (NMMC) last April 8. Mayor Moreno made it a point to mention Congressman Klarex Uy’s contributions to the project during his daily City Hall press briefings on the city’s COVID-19 response.
The CEREID is especially useful now in these days when Cagayan de Oro City’s COVID-19 cases are numbering over 50 in the past few days. With the additional isolation beds, oxygen machines and soon, additional testing equipment and a biosafety level 2 laboratory, Cagayan de Oro City and even Misamis Oriental and the rest of northern Mindanao are benefitting from the foresight of the city’s doctors and Mayor Moreno and Congressman Klarex. The CEREID is another topic for another day.