Fri. Aug 6th, 2021

THESE are trying times. Never was there a period in the history of humankind that we face an invisible enemy almost as invincible as the Corona virus Disease (Covid-19). The plague has traveled across the globe and infects people, rich or poor, black or white, men and women, young or aged.

No place on earth is so distant that the virus cannot inflict its scourge. Man, with all his genius and hubris is helpless. Since the virus showed its toxic might in Wuhan, a progressive City in Hubei province of China, hundreds of thousands the world over had been found positive of the virus now known to us as Covid-19.

Scientists had given the virus its name, while incorrigible politicians envious of the progress and development of erstwhile backward China, dub it Wuhan or Chinese virus. Earlier some unkind words and condemnation were written against China.

We call it “Sinophobia.”

And yet when the flu epidemic which emanated from the United States of America we never recalled calling it American virus.

Man’s insensitivity against fellowmen now translates into a worldwide plague. The world over we scamper for solutions. Months had elapsed yet even the most powerful and advanced nations have yet to discover a vaccine.

We had remained clueless until we discover that the cure is not in an elixir or vaccine but in prevention. It is keeping the man in his abode.

Lockdown is the order because man, it was found out, harbors the invisible enemy. What a classic irony and a humiliating means to bring the proud man bending on its knees in compliance for its own survival.

China gave us the lesson: Test or observation, isolation, and tracing the contacts of an infected person. China’s triumph over the scourge is our own template.

Ergo, the lockdown and self-quarantine and other simple hygienic modes of discipline.

Of Covid, lockdown and Periwinkles

MARCH for Davao City used to be a month of celebration. The climax was supposed March 16 when this southern capital, the communication and commercial center of Mindanao and home to the Philippines President celebrates Araw ng Dabaw.

This year the city anniversary’s celebration was not only subdued but altogether canceled as the city imposed community quarantine.

By the time this piece comes out of the press however the entire Region 11 shall have been locked down, a decision arrived at by the region’s political leadership. Davao City Mayor Inday Sara Duterte-Carpio was chosen by the Regional Development Council and the Regional Peace and Order Council to head the Davao Region Covid-19 Task Force.

Region 11 is composed of the provinces of Davao del Sur, Davao Occidental, Davao del Norte, Davao Oriental, and Davao de Oro and the component cities.

Based on its initial directive Davao Region Covid-19 Task Force shall “implement the suspension of land, sea, and domestic air travel for 14 days, and maybe reduced to seven (7) days upon review of Infectious Disease Specialist Consultant – Close all entry to Region XI at 00:01H Thursday, 19 March 2020,” the advisory read.

The order also states that those exiting the region will be allowed anytime, but, they cannot come back beginning 00:01H Thursday, 19 March 2020 and for the next 14 days. This order has been extensively announced in print, broadcast and in social media platforms.

I do not know about other provinces and cities, but as I write this, we in Davao City are braced for the lockdown. Even with the initial community quarantine, nearly the entire city population followed the city directives. Where I live, in Robinsons Highlands, I can count on my left-hand fingers the number of cars that pass by.

I went out once and briefly to buy adult milk and repair kit for a defective kitchen faucet. Tiny periwinkle seedlings have grown underneath the mother plants and, too, I bought plastic pots and garden soil to repot them. For the next 14 days or beyond, I will watch them grow. I isolate each of the delicate plantlets away from the ever-playful dogs we have.

The next 14 days was not much of a sacrifice. We can go on for another 14 days or maybe more. If this is a sacrifice at all, it is part of the solution to deprive the coronavirus of another possible host or hosts.

We have seen it all. Covid-19 can spread exponentially depending on how many contacts can a Covid-positive person socialize or intermingle with. We saw it in Wuhan, Korea, France, Italy on such a big scale and in Metro Manila in a small but then an apprehensive number.

The World Health organization had issued an extremely important declaration: The way to control the spread of Covid-19 is to TEST, TEST and TEST then ISOLATE, ISOLATE, ISOLATE and then CONTACT TRACING.

Countries afflicted have 30 days to do these to survive from this holocaust inflicted by the invisible enemy. In Davao, we complied with observing community quarantine at first and now with the regional lockdown. We are used to this kind of discipline.

We surely miss the festivities of Araw ng Dabaw but next year will be a grandiose one. Besides, within the next 30 days, I can watch my periwinkles grow and come to flower.

Stay safe. Stay home.

Ed’s note: Serafin “Jun” Ledesma is a community journalist who writes from Davao City and comments from the perspective of a Mindanaoan. He is a regular columnist with Sun-Star Davao and the Philippine News Agency. (ia/

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