In the face of the surge in Covid-19 infections, the country is scrambling to buy time, and vaccines. The National Capital Region and some of its adjacent provinces have been put into a “plus bubble” to curb the spread. Meanwhile, vaccines have arrived in the country and have arrived in their destinations. Recently the BARMM has had its vaccine rollout and vaccinations have begun in some places, the most recently notable being the one recently held at the Provincial Capitol of Lanao del Sur. It even had neighboring areas expressing “sana all” in social media. Yet this was not spared its own trouble. The lack of transparency in the national government regarding the loans ostensibly taken to pay for the vaccines and the circus that accompanied the vaccines’ selection and procurement, as well as the issue of who should get it first, have greatly affected public trust.
However, the initial round of vaccinations are timely, given that the cases have started to surge nationwide and as the region and country are still being dragged down by the effects of the pandemic which has already stretched for more than a year. And yet, as the numbers soar, so have the number of people who have let their guard down and are risking infection (or reinfection) by not wearing masks, conducting/attending social events, among others. There are still those who have yet to believe that the virus exists and that the vaccines are of help in preventing the spread, if not lessen the adverse effects of the infection.
The BARMM residents’ experiences with the numerous community quarantines have not been easy. The fact that many have already lost their livelihoods due to pandemic restrictions, tat many have had infections, and that the supply chain of vital supplies has been affected points out that they cannot afford another ECQ. Yet, many people are acting and going about as though they could afford to lose everything or even get locked down again
Even if everyone in the entire region and country were vaccinated, people should not rest easy and assume that Covid-19 will just run away. Protection boils down ultimately to protecting one’s self, that everyone has a role in preventing the spread of the virus. Given that some of the premier hospitals in the country are now overwhelmed and patients are fighting for space, medicines, and physicians, it is not right that we compound the problem even further. It is the duty of every Bangsamoro to help curtail the spread of Covid-19 and contribute to the worldwide effort to end the pandemic. PMT