February 5, 2023

Dear Manang,
I have been contacted by contact tracers because my cousin tested positive for Covid-19. I was scared because I don’t want to experience the same swabbing that my cousin experienced where the tracers come in personal protective equipment and fumigate the house. I also can’t stay quarantined for 14 days because I must feed my kid. I guess I was fortunate that my encounter with him was brief and in open air. I was just asked to notify them if I feel anything. What are the protocols for a person who tests positive?
Kath of Upper Quezon Hill, Baguio City

Dear Kath,
How fortunate you are to be asymptomatic. If I may give my opinion on these protocols, it is good to give those without symptoms a break from quarantine, since our facilities are currently full. I know a number of friends who have tested positive but have no symptoms. They have and had been made to stay home for 14 days. Only those who show signs are asked to submit to hospitalization. My advice is to stay away from crowds when you’ve been tested and passed the quarantine. I am sure that you can still make a living somehow. Check the government sites on protocols. I am also sure that contact tracers will give you good advice. Keep safe and keep healthy.
Gargle with warm water with salt,
Manang


Dear Manang,
My niece had committed suicide because of fear of an angry father. Have we become monsters to our own children? Like many teenagers, my niece was hooked to playing online games. She was allowed to go to the computer shop because of the modules she needed to complete. She also earned some money to sustain her computer time for the week by helping gather strawberries in the neighborhood. But her father discovered that she had not completed the modules and failed because of this. He threatened her about it if she could not complete them for submission on Friday. She played instead of doing her assignment. In fear of his anger, she decided to hang herself from a tree on her way home. Why do they do that?
Kellie of Bayabas, La Trinidad, Benguet

Dear Kellie,
These are the times when mental health is urgent and needs attention. After a year, we have not really adjusted to the changes in our behavior brought on by the quarantine and the limits to our movements. What’s more with kids who find it difficult to learn on their own. On top of it all, kids who are bored with modules and have no self-discipline. I am unable to comprehend how parents can drive their children to commit suicide because of fear. The father must be beating her up to induce such terror on her, so much for her to want death as the sweeter exit. Parents, you are the first persons to shelter your children, why must they be so afraid? I know that this lifestyle will not last forever. We should be most tolerant at this point. Let’s comfort, not confront.
Be the comforter,
Manang