‘This power trip is even more evident with the long, pretentious and high-sounding name the panel likes to call itself — Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) — not to mention the barrage of new abbreviations and acronyms this generals-heavy committee has foisted upon the citizens.’
WITH the way the government team fighting the pandemic issues guidelines limiting and/or easing the movement of people, we can sense that it really relishes the new-found power it has over mass behavior. And that they are not going to let it go easily for the holding of power over people gives one a unique high.
This power trip is even more evident with the long, pretentious and high-sounding name the panel likes to call itself — Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) — not to mention the barrage of new abbreviations and acronyms this generals-heavy committee has foisted upon the citizens.
After almost 3 months of strict lockdown, Metro Manila, Central Luzon, Cagayan Valley, Calabarzon, Central Visayas, Pangasinan, Zamboanga City and Davao City have shifted to the general community quarantine (GCQ) from June 1 to June 15. The rest of the country has been placed under the more relaxed modified general community quarantine (MGCQ).
But a reading of new guidelines released by the IATF shows that quarantine restrictions are not eased. Some rules, like those on persons younger than 21 and older than 60, are even made more stringent.
As announced by presidential spokesman Harry Roque, not every one will be allowed to leave their homes in areas under MGCQ based on the revised government rules. The new resolution of the IATF says the movement of all persons will be limited to accessing essential goods and services and for work in offices allowed to operate under MGCQ.
Persons below 21 years old, above 60 years, those with health risks, and pregnant women are also required “to remain in their residences at all times.” Exception may be given to those going out for essential activities, according to Roque.
We note, however, that the panel has approved the holding of masses and other religious gatherings, among them work-related meetings and social functions, provided the venues are used at 50-percent seating capacity.
There are other glitches, though, such as when Police Lt. General Guillermo Eleazar said one needs a travel pass when crossing city boundaries inside Metro Manila, while DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya says a travel pass is not needed within the National Capital Region.
We take this opportunity to remind the IATF that until now, senior citizens are barred from boarding the trains, even if their reason for going out is to claim pension payments.
There are many other problems in the government response to the COVID-19 pandemic, but President Duterte would not want to change his people on board. So be it, but a simpler, unassuming name for the IATF is still in order.