I took this photo this morning as I was coming home from the market. Ever since Metro Manila, Antipolo and other areas around the NCR transitioned into General Community Quarantine (GCQ) and Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ), a lot of people have been going out and taking group rides on motorcycles and bicycles as if there was no pandemic hanging around. I understand that a lot of people have been holed in their homes for quite some time now but these trips seem excessive considering many are cross-town or even inter-provincial trips that are long in terms of distance and times traveled.
Motorcycle group traveling along Daang Bakal in Antipolo City
I posted the same photo on social media to solicit reactions or comments. I asked the question of whether these trips are necessary. So far, I only got a couple of sad face reactions and a couple of comments. The sad face reactions included one from a cycling advocate. I know the person to be very passionate about bicycle commuting but also advised vs. group rides during MECQ and GCQ. I guess the point here is that we seem to be lowering our guard against Covid-19 and to me these trips (i.e., long rides, group rides) are unnecessary trips. While there seems to be no spikes in infections due to these rides, we don’t know really as data is poorly collected and analyzed. For those who don’t give a damn, I give the analogy of road safety, many situations of reckless driving or riding do not necessarily lead to a crash but the high potential for one means it is something waiting to happen. The same applies to these rides where there might be one, just one, asymptomatic rider who can potentially spread Covid-19. Maybe those infected will be asymptomatic, too. However, others they are in contact with may not be and become seriously ill. So until we do have a vaccine vs. Covid-19 and many are vaccinated already, I would advise against these unnecessary trips.
I view it another way: I think we Filipinos are tired of being treated like prison inmates, let out only on certain days. People would be more cooperative if it looked like our government had a clue… it doesn’t. We’re on our own, and we are not rats to be cooped up and driven insane.
I’m not saying you should stay cooped inside your home. I myself take long walks by myself. I also have friends who ride but not in large groups and certainly not over long distances. Yes, the government doesn’t have a clue but would you further this cluelessness and contribute (knowingly or unknowingly) to the spread of Covid-19?
As a practical matter, the city government of Antipolo, due to barangay coding, IS treating its residents like inmates. Remember, we’re still officially banned from leaving our homes four days out of seven. So we ARE prisoners inside our homes. We’re just let out periodicially, as if we are trustees in prison. If you’re a senior – life imprisonment for you!
Ultimately, if it’s a risk these people want to take, then that is their right. Do we stop letting people make their own decisions when the government decides it is convenient to do so? What makes you think it will just stop with COVID? You’re kidding yourself if you don’t think the government will find excuses to keep these restrictions on forever.
Are we banned from leaving our homes? The coding applies mainly to malls, markets and other commercial establishments that apply barangay coding to discourage unnecessary trips to these places. Pero maluwag naman especially sa drug stores. You can go out everyday if you want to as long as you follow health protocols and within the curfew hours.
Unless you have the pass? Yes. Not my words, the city government of Antipolo:
“Tanging mga Authorized Persons Outside of Residence (APORs) tulad ng mga frontliners at mga may hawak ng TRANSFERABLE QUARANTINE PASS ang papahintulutan ng IATF na makalabas.”
If you’re a senior who wants to go out? Tough luck, you’re still in jail. We merely have a pass from our jailers to leave. How nice of them.
So are you angry, disappointed or frustrated because you’re restricting yourself? It seems to me that you’ve been going out yourself. Sa dami ng dayo sa Antipolo since it transitioned to GCQ (now MGCQ), I doubt the city can enforce the unenforceable anyway. Even seniors are out. So much for governance…