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The heat is on

As soon as the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration declared last week that summer has officially begun in the country, the days and nights suddenly turned much warmer and based on our experience, it is something we will have to brace ourselves for in the next couple of months.

Aside from the late arrival of the increase in temperature and level of discomfort, which isn’t a surprise given our vast experience with summer months in the Philippines, there are a lot of things pointing to a very interesting summer for 2022.

The hottest thing to hit the country this summer, aside from the literally rising temperatures due to global warming and climate change, would be the May 9 elections, which from all accounts so far, looks like it’s going to be a doozy. The national campaign is already in full swing and with the local campaign period about to start in a few days, expect election fever to go into overdrive.

What makes this year’s elections so interesting is that it has the makings of an epic battle between the leader in the surveys and the rally juggernaut. So far, the UniTeam duo of Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Sara Duterte are resting comfortably on their commanding lead in the surveys while their opponents, the duo of Leni Robredo and Kiko Pangilinan have been busy breaking attendance records in their campaign sorties that have drawn mammoth crowds all over the nation.

The voters cannot compare these front running candidates head to head because BBM and Sara refuse to engage in debates. And since we cannot compare survey numbers with estimated headcounts, nobody really knows who is really gaining or losing the upper hand in these elections. Aside from these two leading candidates, there is also enough time for a dark horse to emerge and surprise them all. We cannot discount the abilities of the Isko Moreno, Manny Pacquiao and Ping Lacson teams to pull off the impossible.

This is indeed going to be a very interesting summer.

Aside from politics, we are also starting to forget that we still have the COVID-19 problem to deal with this summer, because contrary to popular belief, the pandemic has not yet ended.

This summer will most likely end with what could be the final COVID surge. What that surge will look like, we don’t know yet. We might not want to even think about the “Deltacron” variant, especially after two years of isolation and suffering, but if scientists are right, COVID still has at least one surge left and we are going to deal with it whether we like it or not. Hopefully, it’s more like Omicron that is highly infectious but less severe, but there is also a chance that it could be a bit like Delta in terms of severity and that could set us back further by another 4-5 months or maybe even another year. If we get the worst of all worlds variant, then we can only hope that our vaccination efforts and prior experience with the pandemic are enough to hold back the surge.

If you come to think of it, we are basically hoping the pandemic away at this point. Aside from the pent up frustration at having our lives suspended for more than two years already, our Omicron experience that wasn’t as bad as we expected it to be has emboldened us in 2022. People are making up for lost time, making travel and vacation plans. This year’s campaign season crowds are probably the biggest we have ever seen in the history of our elections. Filipinos must have gotten over their COVID fears if 86 thousand Negrenses can gather in our Paglaum Stadium and 137,000 in Pasig City’s Emerald Avenue.

We are hoping COVID is finally over but forget that the human race has not yet officially beaten the pandemic. As we try to get some normalcy back into our lives this summer, we still have to be ready for at least one more wave and the science says its most likely coming this summer of 2022.

This summer, let’s do the research using verified and trusted sources to make up our minds on who to cast our vote for, start coming up with plans to make up for all the time we lost but at the same time be ready for setbacks or sudden changes, and make sure complete our COVID vaccination and booster jabs as soon as possible so we and our families can be protected if and when what we hope to be the final surge hits.

No matter what happens, this is definitely going to be a summer to remember. The heat is turning up and whether we look back at this summer with fond memories or with trauma is up to us.*

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November 2022
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