December 1, 2023

It was approximately this very same time last year when the government contemplated of declaring the entire country under community quarantine due to the increasing number of people around the world who tested positive for Covid-19.
A few weeks thereafter, the entire archipelago was placed on a complete lockdown where people were disallowed to go out of their residences. When the announcement came, we were not worried of the effects of a lockdown. It did not matter much. It was, in fact, a welcome break because it was supposed to be only for a week or two. Two weeks of idleness meant quality time spent with the family. Not bad.
But, the days stretched into weeks and the weeks stretched into months until we realized that a community lockdown, no matter by what name it is called, is not so pleasant after all. Many developed mental instability and many more were confronted with uncertainty. Some wailed, some took it in stride, and some committed suicide.
Whatever reaction there was to the lockdown, it produced a national frustration that made each and every one unproductive or under productive.
Then, the national government announced that it was easing the restrictions so that the economy may grind once more. Stringent protocols on wearing face mask and shield, physical distancing, and a constant reminder that the virus is here to stay did not deter us from normalizing our lives. We need to socialize, to work, to live, to enjoy the company of others, to survive, and to be human beings. To assume the risk of being infected while doing our normal chores is far better and more satisfying than being in a safe enclosure parrying the possible effect of an unseen virus that is destroying our hopes, dreams, and aspirations.
People are by nature adamant. It is probably the result of pride. This human pride fosters a character to defy safety rules and regulations. With the creation of a vaccine and the ability of our medical experts to treat the Covid-19, we became complacent to an unreasonable degree. Some started pulling down their masks and some refused to wear their face shields. Still, some no longer observed physical distancing to protect their lungs from the airborne disease. Then, one day in January 2021, there were 85 people in Baguio City who contracted the coronavirus. Another substantial number from La Trinidad, Benguet and Bontoc, Mountain Province were afflicted with the new variant. There is renewed fear.
Due to the ripple effect of the current situation, the government is once more contemplating on imposing a community lockdown covering the Cordillera starting Feb. 1. How long it will last? Nobody knows. It may last for a week or two, it may be extended to a month or more. Whatever the timeframe, we are confronted with a problem of epic proportions that will surely demoralize our already sagging hopes.
We are fully aware of what a lockdown can do to us and to our psyche. It is frustrating as it is degrading, to say the least. What else can we say? What else do we expect? Every time the government mentions a possible lockdown, it brings shivers to our spine. It is more frightening than the Covid-19 itself. It brings nightmares.
There must be a better solution in avoiding the virus from scattering other than isolating everyone from each other. Isolation makes us prisoners not of our own doing. So, if the government is planning to implement another nationwide or local quarantine, whether general or modified, please say it isn’t so.