June 21, 2024

I reside in Sto. Niño Subdivision, a purok of Central Bakakeng. Like other places in Baguio City, my barangay is under the enhanced community quarantine. This means that our movement is limited. We are allowed to leave our houses only during market days. Only one member of each household is permitted to go out. To be under quarantine is already bad enough. What made it worse is that last Sunday, our purok was placed under complete lockdown because a resident tested positive for the coronavirus disease-2019. As small as our world is because of the ECQ, it became even smaller with the lockdown.
Predictably, as soon as the lockdown was announced, several concerned personalities complained. They said that it is not fair that all residents shall suffer because of the affliction of one individual. They cry foul that their passes are no longer honored, notwithstanding that they have abided by the rules and regulations of the quarantine. Some even defy the lockdown by passing through exit points that are not manned by the police. Well, I cannot blame them.
Being on lockdown is like being on house arrest. Movement and mobility is confined within the four corners of our respective residences. With social distancing being the norm and the gathering of five or more people being prohibited, life under this condition is as lonely as being on isolation. Yet, it is in isolation that the spread of the Covid-19 can be suppressed.
“Stay home,” warns our public officials. “It is your way of being a hero,” they hasten to encourage. But we do not want to be heroes. We want to survive. We want our lives back. We want to freely roam our streets and interact with our friends and enemies. We want to be humans again. But we can’t. We are locked down, caged like wild animals, feared that if we leave our comfort zones it will hasten the spread of the pandemic.
“I am a rock, I am an island,” boasts the song of Paul Simon and Art Garfunkle. What they had in mind was a man marooned on an island with no one else to commune with. We are not marooned on an island. We live in a civilized state where our freedom to travel is guaranteed by the Constitution though this can be curtailed in times of emergency like now. So, what are we complaining about? A general during the American Revolution best summed it up when he said: “Ours is not to ask the reason why, ours is to do and die.”
Of course, we are not contemplating the last part of what the general said. We are not just about to give up on life. We shall see this through despite the handicap that we have against the virus. There are already too many deaths in this war against the unseen enemy. What we want is for the virus to suppress itself and hurl it back to whatever animal, laboratory, or market where it came from.
Perhaps, we are only bored, depressed, and anguished. Being on lockdown makes life a routine. We eat, drink, add a little exercise, and be merry, for tomorrow, we might contract the virus. Funny, but nobody is laughing anymore. Instead, we are forlorn,anticipating to see the day when the lockdown is lifted. When? Perhaps tomorrow, perhaps seven days from now or perhaps, a little longer. Still, we remain expectant because everything must come to pass. That is the law of nature and the will of God. We only have to believe and we only have to hope.
In contending with our misfortunes, it is easy to point an accusing finger against someone who had been afflicted. That person may have been careless, that person may have disregarded social distancing, that person refused to wear a face mask, etc. Did we ever examine our conscience on whether we, too did our part? Life isn’t fair, it is just.
People who are infected with the Covid-19 are as much victims as we are. Let’s face it, nobody wants to be afflicted. Everybody wants to be healthy. But the virus is unforgiving. It has no compunction in its path toward destruction. It is an immovable force that cannot be stopped. Medical experts are one in saying that the Covid-19 is here to stay for a while. Let’s pray that the rains will wash away this virulence. Then again, experts say that there is no scientific evidence that rain can suppress the pandemic. What they are certain is that social distancing, wearing face mask, proper coughing ethics, sanitation, and cleanliness are effective means to kill the virus. So what are we doing? Let’s stop complaining and let’s start killing the virus. In the end, whether we like it or not, we are all in this together.