If it walks like a duck…

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    ‘I have been hearing complaints from the private sector about these vaccination programs, and I suspect that these complaints are due to surface soon, judging from the volume of the disgust I have been hearing.’

    GOVERNMENT is a monolith. One project or initiative, while conceived by a specific department, bureau or line agency, is almost never done in isolation. More often than not, projects require the cooperation of other departments, which means good coordination is key among different components of government. This explains your task forces, inter-agency councils and committees, and so on. The monolithic structure of government requires close coordination among all parties involved, especially when it comes to policy that has an immediate effect on the lives of its constituents.

    This close coordination is especially of utmost imperative in emergency situations – the departments must move fast, and communication of regulations and policies to be implemented ideally should be clear and concise so that confusion among the public is avoided. Some administrations have been better at communicating with the public than others, and even those administrations are not always 100% when it comes to delivering information in a timely manner.

    Take for example these recent regulations relating to NCR Plus – announced just last Sunday, and took effect just after a day. Judging by the number of clarifications, people were quite perplexed about what can and cannot be done in terms of moving around the areas covered. It seems that government tried its best to avoid calling the new regulations as a lockdown, thus resorting to other weird descriptions for it, (alas, they may have finally reached the end of coming up with new CQ acronyms) hence this resort to “NCR Plus” or whatever catchphrase it is.

    Kids below 17 and seniors can’t leave the house, travel outside the covered areas are not allowed (but residents can travel back in), bubbles are supposed to restrict movement, restaurants should only accommodate customers if they have an outdoor dining area, and so on. As the saying goes: if it walks like a duck, it talks like a duck, then it is obviously a duck. But lest we suffer the ire of the best and the brightest by the Pasig River, then by all means let’s call it “NCR Plus Bubble.”

    Our officials seem to be more preoccupied with concerns other than cushioning the impact of this pandemic on the citizenry, and their dismissive attitude towards informing the public properly is in reality a big source of headaches for ordinary citizens, employers, and workers. One year later, there is no legitimate contact tracing to speak of – a tool that has been proven to effectively quell the rise of cases in other countries. More and more, 2021 seems to just be 2020’s uglier sister instead of the year of hope that it was touted to be, once news of the vaccines came.

    And perhaps, that is just the tip of the iceberg. I have been hearing complaints from the private sector about these vaccination programs, and I suspect that these complaints are due to surface soon, judging from the volume of the disgust I have been hearing. On that note, it is best to wait until these concerns are aired out into the greater public space – and until then, we will have to deal with these ever-changing regulations and hurdles government throws our way.

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