July 19, 2024

For more than a year now, the world’s attention has been riveted on the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
Surely, many would agree with this near-sighted Ibaloy writer that this is our generation’s World War III where we are all soldiers grappling in mortal combat with an invisible enemy that has already killed millions.
Millions more have been deprived of their livelihood pushing them and their loved ones into the jaws of poverty. Hopefully, with vaccination going on in all or most countries, we would finally defeat this pandemic sooner rather than later and get on with our interrupted lives in a “new normal” world.
As often reminded by Mayor Benjie Magalong, let us not forget to religiously adhere to minimum public health standards like frequent washing of hands; proper wearing of face mask and shield; and practicing social distancing, which according to health experts will go a long way in protecting us from getting or spreading the deadly virus. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Anyway, the attention given to defeating Covid-19 and its variants should not make us lower our guard or become complacent against other “killers” out there like tobacco smoking that also continues to reap a heavy toll in terms of human lives annually.
As a smoker myself who quit the deadly habit years ago, I can still feel its deleterious effects on my health until now. If I could only turn back time, I would never have started smoking in the first place. It’s true, nasa huli lagi ang pagsisisi.
As a former heavy smoker, here’s my challenge to smokers our there: If you love yourself and your loved ones, quit smoking before it’s too late. Enroll in a smoke-cessation program if you have to. There is no shame in this. Just quit and become a winner. Cheers!

Here’s “The Lesson” by Maya Angelou: “I keep on dying again./ Veins collapse, opening like the/ Small fists of sleeping/ Children./ Memory of old tombs,/ Rotting flesh and worms do/ Not convince me against/ The challenge./ The years/ And cold defeat live deep in/ Lines along my face./ They dull my eyes, yet/ I keep on dying,/ Because I love to live.”

Let’s end with a prayer: “May my life be filled with thanksgiving and praise for your countless blessings. Give me assurance that you supply my every need through your generosity. May grace, mercy, and peace be with me, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ the Son, in truth and love. Through Jesus Christ, our Lord, Amen.”