Briones: Mindless idiots

The Department of Health (DOH) needs to move on. It no longer takes center stage in local affairs.I get it.The agency has been in the limelight ever since the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) arrived in the Philippines in January 2020. It probably thinks the pandemic show will run forever.But, as you all know, everything must come to an end. There are no exceptions.Even the Covid health scare, which probably set our country’s development back several years, will go away.The DOH should stop acting like a diva and expecting everyone to do its bidding when it snaps its fingers.Not only is the practice disrespectful, but it’s also downright rude.I know Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama upped the ante when he signed Executive Order (EO) 5, which lifted the mask mandate in the city.Because unlike what Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia did in June, when she made the wearing of masks in outdoor and well-ventilated areas optional in Cebu Province, Rama went farther by making masking “non-obligatory” indoors and outdoors “ except in medical facilities and for people experiencing flu-like symptoms going out of their homes.”In a press conference on Friday, Sept. 2, 2022, DOH Officer-in-Charge Maria Rosario Vergeire posed this question, “Imagine if one or two or three LGUs will implement different protocols, what will happen to us if the virus crosses borders?”Hello? What do you think has been happening these past two years?Anyway, Cebu is an island, hundreds of kilometers from where she sits in the National Capital Region.As for the impending disaster scenario she’s so worried about, trust me, it should have happened back in June when the governor issued EO 16. But it did not.Again, I don’t understand what the ruckus is all about.By lifting the mask mandate, Garcia and Rama gave Cebuanos the choice to wear or not to wear a mask.Does this mean I will stop wearing a mask when I step out of my door? No, I have gotten used to it. It will probably take some time before I feel comfortable without one.But it’s my choice.And, as Governor Garcia pointed out, “local officials are more aware of the situation in their areas, which is why their decisions should be respected.”Because, let’s face it, that’s what it all boils down to. Respect.Oh, and there’s that small matter of Republic Act 7160.Anyway, I’m pretty sure Vergeire means well. She just needs to stop treating Filipinos like mindless idiots who can’t think for themselves.