WITH COVID-19 cases projected to reach 8,000 daily by the end of March in Metro Manila alone, Sen. Nancy Binay today expressed alarm that minimum health protocols are no longer being observed nor being implemented in public places, or even by public officials.

According to Binay, even national leaders make full display of the ‘ningas-cogon’ attitude and have forgotten that the threat of the coronavirus is still very real and fatal.

“What’s ironic is that after a year since the lockdown, naririto pa rin tayo… hindi umuusad. Parang walang nagbago—same problems, same issues, same recommendations (hard lockdown, curfew, liquor ban, etc). ‘Yung pagda-downplay ng DOH sa pagtaas ng mga kaso at ang recommendation ng IATF na i-open na ang turismo, buksan na ang mga resorts, sinehan, etc. actually create an impression na balik na tayo sa normal—which is not the case. Nalulusaw ang mensahe na dapat maging vigilant pa rin tayo dahil mas lalong lumalakas ang COVID. Walang mangyayari sa atin kung kakapitan natin ang mantra na ‘OK na dahil meron nang bakuna’. It’s the perception that ‘everything is OK’ is what makes it not-OK,” she pointed out.

“Di ba, how can we expect people to consciously follow health protocols when even our national and local government officials do not conscientiously follow minimum health protocols? Kahit anong curfew o liquor ban ang gawin, if we see people in government freely travelling to beaches and resorts, and organizing public gatherings as if everything is back to normal, talagang magre-relax din ang mga tao,” the senator added.

Binay noted that national leaders are sending wrong signals to the public every time they are seen on television trivializing the continued increase in the number of COVID-19 cases, and conferring assurance that things are slowly becoming normal because the vaccines are already available.

“Wag sanang ningas-cogon—’yung sa umpisa lang tayo masigasig, tapos dedma na. No matter how long we impose curfews, or even considering enacting ordinances as an institutional response to abate the surge of COVID cases, lahat yan ‘di magiging effective if we continue to display a relaxed atmosphere in the midst of a worsening public health crisis,” she said, adding that “dapat munang ayusin ng IATF at ng Palasyo ay ang ‘messaging’, because the varying, irrelevant, and inconsistent messaging creates public confusion, and damages whatever gains we have had in the fight against COVID.”

Binay said that the IATF, national leaders, the private sector and even social media influencers, should make every effort to logically explain the repercussions of the simple act of wearing a mask and habitually washing hands.

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