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Excellent!

Our long playing tragic comedy continues.

A few days after Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque claimed, but neither providing data nor documentary evidence, that the government’s response to the COVID-19 crisis has been “excellent,” the Philippine National Police has announced that they will be cracking down on public displays of affection, including holding hands, as additional non-science based, kneejerk response to still-rising cases of COVID infections in the country.

“We were excellent. We controlled the spread of the disease, especially when compared to richer countries with more modern hospitals,” said Mr. Roque on Monday, March 8 during a press conference.

The Philippines is already the number 2 country in Southeast Asia in terms of the total number of COVID-19 cases and, based on the statistics, those cases are experiencing another worrying uptick. Almost exactly one year into this ordeal, we have not made any progress but Mr. Sunshine is rating his gang’s performance as “excellent.”

There is still no unified contact tracing program. Testing is not universally accessible. The only vaccines that have arrived are the ones that have been donated and because the people responsible have been excellently dropping the vaccine procurement ball, bulk of the deliveries are not expected until the third quarter of this year. We don’t even know if the boomer responsible for the actual rollout of the vaccination program is ready to deploy such a massive quantity of doses nationwide if ever they do arrive in the latter part of 2021. By then other countries whose governments are slightly more excellent than ours whose vaccination programs are already in full swing will already be on the path to economic recovery while we will be laggards. Excellent laggards of course, but laggards nonetheless.

12 months into this long dark, seemingly endless tunnel of incompetence, COVID-19 cases are rising once more. Our one and only wave of infections is still going strong and it is threating to crest again due to quarantine fatigue and false hope in a promised vaccination program that’s starting to look like a drug war. It’s going to happen after 3-6 more months kids, hopefully this time for real.

The truth of the matter is we have a long way to go. The vaccines trickling in right now that ushered in the symbolic start of a vaccination program, while helpful for those health workers who will be inoculated, are only a drop in the bucket that the entire country needs. If we don’t start filling that bucket until 3Q, don’t expect life to improve any time soon… especially with a government that at this point thinks itself as doing an excellent job. We will have to keep our guard up, distance, masks on, and hands clean.

My fearless but unfortunate forecast for 2021 is it will be much like 2020 because of the people that failed to deliver.

Because COVID-19 is on the rise and the symbolic vaccination is obviously not enough, prepare for more inconvenience.

The schizophrenia in government is real and while there are those wanting to open the economy up ASAP, there are those who want to control infections with the primitive ways and means we have available. When your government has neither a plan nor idea of what it’s doing, prepare for more confusion in the coming months.

Domestic travel restrictions have been eased and swab testing is no longer required from travelers but public displays of affection, even among people of the same household, is now apparently banned. The PNP, the most beloved arm of government under President Rodrigo Duterte, will be going on overdrive as its heavily armed officers clad in urban camouflage go hammer and tongs once more against this microscopic enemy. For places that become hotspots, expect useless checkpoints to pop up as they hope to stop the spread of virus by slowing down traffic. There will be patrols against the virus so don’t hold hands or hug in public, even if you share the same bed and regularly exchange bodily fluids with that person.

Even if it has done nothing for us thus far, let us do our part for this country as we await the arrival of the vaccine that was promised. Excellent boomer politicos will blame us anyway if they fail to deliver yet again but if we do our part, at least someone did something good for this country.

Oh by the way… happy lockdown anniversary! Stay negative my friends.*

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