‘It’s been almost one year to the day when we first went on lockdown, after so many hangers-on of the President who excel in nothing more than bootlicking parroted his early lines that the virus was nothing and would disappear with a slap and was nothing worse than the common cold.’

    GOBBLEDGOOK is a noun that is defined as “language that is meaningless or is made unintelligible by excessive use of technical terms.”

    I’m beginning to wonder if the phrase “whole of nation approach,” which many in government love to bandy about these days, is one such. Listen to any high level government briefing on COVID-19 and you’ll hear that phrase time and time and time again. You’ll hear it particularly from those who seem to want to impress their listeners, the President of the Philippines first and foremost. And notice how they succeed; every time the phrase “whole of nation approach” is uttered, the President seems to brighten up a bit, secure in the knowledge that the whole nation is being subjected to the “whole of nation approach” in combating COVID which is why….

    Which is why we are one of the last nations to even get some donated vaccines from China, and why we are one of the nations with the slowest vaccine rollout in the world. If we need to vaccinate 70% of our people to achieve herd immunity, and we vaccinate at the rate we are vaccinating, then we will take nearly 70 years before we can vaccinate everybody. By which time either our population has doubled, which means we need to vaccinate more, or halved because in the meantime people have died from COVID complications. Remember: to achieve herd immunity, you have to vaccinate the ideal number of persons in the shortest possible time.

    Then again, you can also opt to infect the ideal number of persons in the shortest possible time – and sometimes when I am truly befuddled I wonder if this is in fact the route that the “whole of nation approach” is meant to take.

    Here’s one prime example of gobbledygook. The czars in charge of the “whole of nation approach” to combating the virus recently issued a czarist decree saying to this effect that from now on, there will be a uniform approach to travel requirements; in fact, no testing will now be required for people to move about throughout the whole country. Oh: except where the LGU so requires such.

    How gobbledygooky is that?

    If you check a list of LGUs that continue to require tests – RT-PCR tests which are the gold standard of testing – most LGUs that had this requirement for travelers before the czars released their edict continue to require this test even after the czars issued their edict. So the “whole of nation approach” is actually “parts of the nation approach,” because edicts apply to the whole nation unless some LGUs don’t want them to apply to their jurisdictions.

    In which case they’re not covered by the edict.

    But can you blame the LGUs? Of course not. When the next election comes around – and that’s in less than 15 months – the voters will not be venting their ire on any of the czars whose responsibility is to concoct more “whole of nation approach” plans and policies; they will be focused on Mr. Governor or Mr. Mayor who will be judged on the basis of how well they contained the deadly virus in their areas. On election day a voter in an LGU couldn’t care less about any “whole of nation approach;” what will matter to him is how badly he and his family and his neighbors were hit by COVID and by its economic consequences, and how well (or poorly) Mr. Mayor or Mr. Governor came to his aid.

    But there’s the sad part: this “whole of nation approach” is not helped any by the President himself. At a time when public confidence in vaccination should be raised to an all-time high, the President no less has been uttering statements that could not but diminish the confidence of those who believe in him (16 million in 2016) in the idea of a “whole of nation approach” to vaccination. You see, on the one hand, the President in his infinite wisdom has time and again acted as endorser numero uno of China-made vaccines, dissing Western vaccines as “made by white men” (he seems to be sure the scientists weren’t of Asian or even African descent). But here comes the Chinese vaccines, for which the Food and Drug Administration issued an Emergency Use Authority excepting the elderly and frontline health care workers and the President oversees their rollout to frontline healthcare workers while refusing to take a shot in the arm himself. His doctor, he says, prefers another brand; well, if it isn’t the other Chinese vaccine or that one made in India, any other brand (even Sputnik) would have been made by “white men.”

    Clearly the “whole of nation approach” has exceptions. Like those who took jabs of smuggled Chinese vaccines late last year and who will not be made to account for their actions.

    It’s Monday today, and today we again expect to have another briefing of the President by some of the COVID czars who will once again boast the “whole of nation approach.” That approach has meant the arrival of about one million doses of donated vaccines, good enough for 500,000 people in a country of more than 100 million people which means that more than 69,500,000 others still need to get vaccinated ASAP to achieve herd immunity.

    It’s been almost one year to the day when we first went on lockdown, after so many hangers-on of the President who excel in nothing more than bootlicking parroted his early lines that the virus was nothing and would disappear with a slap and was nothing worse than the common cold. It’s been almost one year when businesses closed and millions lost their jobs while a few thousands lost their lives because we chose to approach the pandemic with czars and not with scientists. It’s been almost one year and you who are reading this should say a quick “thank you,” not to the government but to your God because you are still alive – but never forget that the fact that you do not have COVID today doesn’t mean you won’t have it tomorrow or a week from now or even a year from now. Because experts analyzing the latest statistics tell us there might be another spike real soon and it will include many other variants and you and I are yet to be vaccinated so we need to rely not on government’s “whole of nation approach” but on ourselves to stay healthy and safe.

    The “whole of nation approach” has meant hardly anything to the whole nation. It is, plain and simple, gobbledygook.