OF PROTOCOL BREACH, DEATHS, AND COVER-UPS
The City of Baguio has been dealt with a trying past week, with many residents spewing ire through various mediums because of the evident breach of protocols set by the local government to protect its constituents from the Covid-19 contagion, making sense of a seven-year-old child’s death who allegedly took his own life, and sharing the grief over lost lives resulting from a vehicular accident.
Until now, many residents are still enraged at the group of San Juan, Manila Mayor Francis Zamora who went pass border control and did not undergo health check at the city appointed triage center. Not even the profuse apology of the Manila official could assuage a citizenry that generally has been dutifully following rules then and especially now that every Baguio resident is struggling to keep safe, keeping its more than 30 Covid-19 cases from further increasing, enduring lockdowns, and keeping up with the realities of the new normal.
The residents’ outburst may be seen as unfitting for a city known for its warm hospitality being a tourist, educational, trade, and leisure capital. For the record, the city more than ever remains as such. While times are changing due to the pandemic, Baguio along with the rest of the world will bounce back and could afford to welcome the public again by adopting all adjustments possible to safely get back on its feet.
But it would be a promise that the city government and its people may never keep if they put their guards down and let violators off the hook, with nary a slap on the wrist. There is no need for us to draw blood, as they say, but the Baguio people – considering the sacrifices they have been making and are still willing to put up with until the virus is contained – deserve fair action to prove that indeed nobody is above the law and the law applies to all. Show us, those concerned, and we forgive, be friends, and work better together.
Meanwhile, we as well call for heightened public vigilance over crimes perpetrated inside homes at all times, given the rising cases of alleged death by suicide and domestic abuses recorded by the Baguio City Police Office this week, notably at a time when families stay at home due to the community quarantine. This report is unfortunate and disturbing as we thought that the safest place a person, a child at that, could ever be is being with family.
It was bad enough that we learn of the death of a seven-year-old child, who was under the care of guardians, and worse when it was initially reported that the child killed himself by hanging. The findings of the police that the child died under suspicious circumstances disturbed us further, basing on the result of the autopsy that showed signs of physical abuse. The possibility of covering up the crime, as suspected by police investigators, is beyond comprehension.
Without any proof, we find it unusual for a child to be capable of taking his own life, more so for a child of that age to know what suicide meant. If the theory that the child died of physical abuse turns out to be true, we should see to it that the perpetrators get the punishment they deserve. And while we are aware that domestic violence involving women and children do really happen, the public should not close their eyes on such crimes, but instead help prevent it from happening in the future.
At these times when movements are still limited, we remind and urge for more caution on the streets and highways to prevent traffic accidents, the latest of which claimed six lives and injured others in Tuba, Benguet. Again, we might say road accidents happen, but we believe it can be avoided through collective diligence, with each of us doing our part in making roads and our lives worthy.
With or eventually without this ongoing pandemic, we hope we continue involving ourselves in guarding the health, safety, and security of the city through such level of vigilance Baguio people have always been known for.