After receiving his first vaccine dose, then PNP chief Gen Guillermo Eleazar has enjoined the citizenry to obey quarantine protocols while cautioning everyone to exercise vigilance amidst the unabated spread of the coronavirus pandemic due to the entry of the new Omicron variant. (Photo: Manila Bulletin)
By Tracy Cabrera
MANILA — For the first time, senatorial aspirant Gen. Guillermo Eleazar has tested positive for Covid-19 but he said that since he is asymptomatic, he has decided to self-isolate under the prescribed period while still preparing to campaign for the forthcoming senatorial derby in May the current year.
In a personal interview by this writer, the retired general said: “Nag-positive ako pati iyong iba pa, brother. Naglabas lang ng general guidelines sina (retired Colonel) Joel (Ceballos) meantime na restricted muna ang HQ (headquarters), just implementing them siguro for protection ng lahat.”
Meanwhile, with some sectors criticizing government authorities for imposing restrictions on the mobility of unvaccinated individuals as hinting at discrimination and a violation of rights, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) defended the latest policy as something that is not against the law since it aims to protect the populace from the further spread of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Prior to this, the group known as Concerned Doctors and Citizens of the Philippines tagged the MMDA resolution, which urges the 17 local government executives of Metro Manila not to let the unvaccinated go out of their homes while the country is under Alert Level 3 status, violates the 1987 Constitution.
However, the allegation of the resolution’s unconstitutionality was shot down by MMDA chairman and concurrent Metro Mayors Council executive officer Benjamin ‘Benhur’ Abalos Jr., who said he disagreed with the group because “under the (concept of) parens patriae (parent of the nation) the policy is in tune with the rationale that the state’s importance is paramount since the country is in crisis mode.”
“In restricting movement of the unvaccinated in the NCR, why are we doing this? Precisely to help the unvaccinated . . . This is under the police power of the state. Sana maunawaan nila na with this . . . Omicron which is highly infectious . . . in effect, we are trying to protect the unvaccinated,” Abalos pointed out.
Now Covid-positive, Eleazar supports MMDA’s stand on the matter.
Eleazar expressed agreement in the MMDA’s clarificatory statement that the agency could not be blamed for having their personnel take rapid antigen or reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests from time to time, especially since they are just following what the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) resolution says.
“Sa mga kaganapan ngayon na mabilis na kumakalat ang Covid-19 at marami din ang nagkakasakit ng ubo’t sipon at trangkaso, mahalaga na nag-iingat tayo para hindi tayo magkasakit. Mas maigi na sinusunod natin ang mga (health safety) protocols, lalo na iyong pagsusuot ng face mask at physical distancing para matiyak nating hindi tayo mahahawa at hindi tayo makakahawa sa ating kapwa,” Eleazar stressed.
In the latest Department of Health (DOH) data, it appears that 85 percent of those recently hospitalized and using oxygen are Covid-19 patients who are not fully vaccinated while 93 percent of those who died from the virus did not have complete protection against the deadly virus.
From the ‘minimal risk’ classification under Alert level 2 status last month, the country has escalated to ‘critical risk’ due to exponential growth in the number of new and active coronavirus cases that is believed to be driven by the Covid-19 Omicron variant mutation.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III announced yesterday that risk classification in the Philippines had elevated to ‘critical’ after seeing a massive 3,663 percent two-week growth rate and a 690-percent increase in the seven-day moving average of reported daily cases. The average daily attack rate or the number of infected people per 100,000 population has now reached 10.47 percent.