As we continue to salute our health workers, who are in the frontlines of our battle against Covid-19, let’s start with a prayer lifted from the Internet: “Most gracious and loving Father, I want to thank You for all the blessings You’ve given me, my family and friends and all those I hold dear. Thank You Lord for giving me another day to see the beauty of your creations. You know the state of crisis that I am in now Lord. I want to be of use again to You, Lord. In the time of my hospitalization, You Lord remain as my rock and my anchor. You stand as my lighthouse giving me hope. I pray Lord that you will heal me soon. In Jesus name, Amen.”
With physical distancing now a necessity, one aspect that the Covid-19 pandemic has put a focus on is the problem of congestion or overpopulation in the country’s major cities like Manila, Cebu, Davao, and even Baguio. With 57.5-square kilometers in land area, our beloved City of Pines is the tiniest among the group. If I remember correctly, Baguio is one of the most congested places in our beautiful archipelago with an estimated night time population of about 300,000 and daytime population of over 500,000 even more during weekends and huge events.
That is why this near-sighted Ibaloy writer has opined in earlier columns that Baguio being the country’s Summer Capital and education center of the north is both a blessing and curse. Among the latter are overpopulation contributing to its attendant problems of traffic, garbage, informal settlers, criminality, and more.
This near-sighted Ibaloy writer therefore supports the “Balik-probinsiya (back to the province)” proposal of a senator that seeks to decongest Metro Manila and hopefully other areas as well by encouraging people to go back to their provinces.
Of course, this is easier said than done since the main reason people converge in urban areas is the lack of jobs and universities in their hometowns. The development of areas outside cities should then be a priority of the national leadership with minimal damage to the environment if possible. Again, this is easier said than done. I could be wrong but our very own decades-old BLISST (Baguio, La Trinidad, Itogon, Sablan, Tuba, Tublay) initiative is still not fully realized. But if we do not start decongesting our overpopulated cities, then when?
FYI: The World Immunization Week celebrated on April 24 to 30 is aimed to promote the use of vaccines to protect people of all ages against disease. Immunization saves millions of lives every year and is widely recognized as one of the world’s most successful and cost-effective health interventions. This year’s theme is “#Vaccines Work for All” and the campaign will focus on how vaccines – and the people who develop, deliver and receive them – are heroes by working to protect the health of everyone, everywhere.
Here’s “The Garden” by Mark Strand: “It shines in the garden,/ in the white foliage of the chestnut tree,/ in the brim of my father’s hat/ as he walks on the gravel./ In the garden suspended in time/ my mother sits in a redwood chair:/ light fills the sky,/ the folds of her dress,/ the roses tangled beside her./ And when my father bends/ to whisper in her ear,/ when they rise to leave/ and the swallows dart/ and the moon and stars/ have drifted off together, it shines./ Even as you lean over this page,/ late and alone, it shines: even now/ in the moment before it disappears.”
May our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ continue to bless and keep us all safe.