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We are on our own. It feels like our government has run out of money and ideas. After wasting three months and trillions of pesos, we have to come to terms with the reality that our country’s best of the best boomers have failed. It is now up to us to do our best for ourselves and our families if we want to survive the next few years, health-wise and financially.

First thing’s first. Don’t stock up on gasoline or kerosene. Contrary to certain claims, it is not an effective disinfectant and repeatedly inhaling those chemical fumes will not prevent COVID-19 infections and could even result in serious health problems.

If you come to think of it, the gasoline issue embodies almost everything that is wrong with our government. Nobody believes it and takes it seriously anymore. When high government officials open their mouths, nothing substantial comes out. There is no respect for the people’s time, no word of honor, no science-based facts. There is no plan, no vision, and no idea what is going to happen next.
Everything can be taken back and creatively reimagined. Nobody is accountable and failure is not just an option, it’s a way of life.

This lack of leadership and vision during a global pandemic means that citizens will have to act like our government has totally collapsed. Acronyms like GCQ, ECQ, MGCQ, MECQ mean nothing when they can be imposed at the dead of night, effective dawn. While we still pay taxes, there is now nothing to expect except the most basic services, which in our case mean the police will still man checkpoints.Everything else is assumed to be busted.

The only acronym that matters at this point is V-ECQ, or Voluntary ECQ that means we impose our own restrictions upon ourselves for our own safety and to ensure the continuation of our race.

Not everybody can afford to go into serious V-ECQ but at this point, there is not much we can do for the poorest of the poor after government has given up on them. To be fair to our government, it didn’t just give up on the poor, it gave up on all Filipinos but the rich can take care of themselves and survive longer so the less privileged will just have to take one for the team.

V-ECQ is hereby recommended for those who can afford it while those who can’t will have to deal with whatever alphabet soup quarantine the government imposes.

If you can work from home, go on V-ECQ. Don’t leave your sanctuary for as long as possible. Minimize physical contact with the outside world. Hold meetings online. Limit leisure travel to YouTube or Netflix documentaries.

Those who have no choice but to be physically at the workplace, try to impose your own work-calibrated V-ECQ. Avoid contact with strangers. If you cannot, wear your mask and face shield and establish a contact tracing system. Exercise physical distancing and obsessive compulsive handwashing at all times. Minimize unnecessary interactions and/or stopovers.

If you’ve started doing it lately, it is no longer safe to go to church, eat at restaurants, or go to the hair salon. The infection numbers all over the country should be enough reason to avoid public places again.

Cash is no longer king. Non-contact payment is safer, and since it is the future, we might as well get used to it now. Shop and banking online is now a survival skill.

For the front liners, aka cannon-fodder, just try your best. Wear a mask and facemask. Sanitize until your hands become raw. Exercise physical distancing and non-contact transactions as much as possible. Be hyper aware of everything you touch while working and on public transportation. Remember that if you get COVID, there are only three possible outcomes. First and “best” case is to be an asymptomatic carrier and unknowingly spread the disease further. Second is to develop symptoms and require hospitalization. In this case, the health care system can save you but hospital bills can bury you alive in debt, or you can also die but your family is still buried in debt. Those are enough reasons to assume an ECQ mindset as much as possible, even when thrown into the front lines.

The best possible scenario for a COVID-infected individual is to be found positive early on, be isolated quickly, and develop mild symptoms that only require home quarantine and monitoring while recovering. But since we don’t do mass testing, that situation is like hitting the lottery. That is why we will have to live our lives as if everyone is infected, or that you yourself are infected.

Whether we like it or not, we cannot be like government officials that dispense useless advice while sitting around waiting for a vaccine. We have to save ourselves and our families from this pandemic and V-ECQ is our only option at this point. Make your own science-based protocols. Set up your own contact tracing system. Encourage and monitor each other. Try to prop up the economy in your own way. And most important of all… do not give up until we see the light at the end of this long, dark, seemingly endless hell of a tunnel.*

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May 2022

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