Reading about a plague terrified me when I was a kid.  Watching its effects dramatized in movies gave me nightmares.  Although it has been given a benign name, a pandemic is a plague that brings death, fear, and untold misery. 

The paranoia is crippling.  We are afraid to go out. We avoid, meeting and talking to friends and family.  Everyone and everything we touch is a suspect.  Every day is a fight against an unseen enemy.

And then, there is the sadness that isolation brings, and of reading about friends who never recovered, and worse, the fear that we may suffer the same fate. 

All we can do is pray and believe that if we do our best, God will do the rest.  Everyone needs to fend for himself/herself by observing all health protocols and strengthening one’s immunity. 

The government’s drumbeaters say that vaccines are coming.  They allay our fears by saying that government has adequate capacity to deal with the surge in COVID cases.  But data say otherwise.   Instead of testing a target of 100,000 cases a day, the system is only able to deal with more than 30,000.  Access to a swab test is beyond the reach of the ordinary.  The price range is quite prohibitive —P3,800 from Red Cross and P5,000 from a private hospital.  A nurse from a government hospital shares how many of them have gotten sick devoid of government’s protection.  The benefits that were promised by government have remained undelivered.   They too have to fend for themselves against discrimination in riding public vehicles to be able go to work.  His pain is shared by many. And his pain is the truth.

We do not know when we will have access to vaccines.  But we are certain that there is no vaccine against incompetence.  And there is no sense gritting our teeth in anger and frustration and unnecessarily stress ourselves.

But we can do something.  We should have the courage in speaking about what is wrong and that we deserve better.  In that way, our dissatisfaction is not pent up inside, but given a voice.  And numerous voices singing the same song can have an impact.  At the very least, it can spur social anger.

We should continuously encourage pubic officials and private sector leaders for their leadership and   efforts to help despite great limitations.  Let us publicly affirm their worth and their valuable contribution.

Let us promise ourselves that we will do our best to help elect leaders who will listen to our needs and have the genuine competence and integrity to lead us away from our miseries.   There is a campaign to get the 15 million qualified voters to register by the 2022 Coalition.  The results of our elections would have been different had they all voted.  There are initiatives to organize information and inform the public about the performance of those who this early, have expressed their ambition to become President. Recently, a campaign was launched to search for leaders who are not only honorable but with demonstrated competence and leadership skills.   We need to get out of our comfort zones and complacency, and become involved by being part of these movements.  There is no vaccine for incompetence.  But we have to power to boot the incompetents and their cohorts out of office and strip them of the power which they abused.

Source: Manila Bulletin (