The New Normal

Our survival as a nation and as a people is still at stake. The shift to GCQ from ECQ or MECQ is not the "new normal." We will only achieve the goal of finally being under such state if we will together, cooperate with our leaders, follow the rules, and think of how our actions affect not only our loved ones but also other people and the community.

It is now the month of June. On the first day of the month, Metro Manila and several areas of the country shifted from Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) to the more relaxed General Community Quarantine (GCQ), which allowed more businesses to re-open and workers to report back to work, and several non-contact or less contact activities to be done provided that physical distancing and other COVID-19 preventive measures. The rest of the country, unless specified otherwise, moved from GCQ to an even more relaxed Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ), which is, more or less, closer to what will be called the "new normal."

The start of the shift to GCQ was not easy for residents of the metropolis. The limited number of public utility vehicles being allowed to operate made the commute to and from work challenging for many. At certain times, physical distancing was not observed, as workers crowded on every available vehicle that would let them board.

 

Being under GCQ means life is far from normal for the people of Metro Manila. People below 21 years of age, as well as senior citizens and those with pre-existing health conditions are still not allowed to leave their homes unless they have to buy food or medicine or attend to an emergency. Malls and other establishments may have reopened but loitering is restricted and only people with valid business can be given access. While it travel restrictions within Metro Manila are gradually being relaxed, there are still checkpoints in strategic areas and some local government units will still ask for travel passes before allowing outsiders to come in. Large gathering of people is still not allowed. Restaurants and other food businesses can only cater to takeaway orders.

 

Of course, there is the post-community quarantine scenario that is the "new normal." Once the entire country gets into such state, the majority of Filipinos will be able to go out of their homes to work again and resume their usual routine. The difference, however, is that under the "new normal," physical distancing, the wearing of facial masks and other COVID-19 preventive measures will still be in place, there are fewer to zero cases of COVID-19 and the health care system is capable of responding to suspected and confirmed cases, should there be any. That will the reality of the situation under the "new normal," which is not the same "business as usual" approach that people had before the start of the pandemic.

 

Obviously, the COVID-19 situation is far from over. The virus that causes the dreaded disease continues to linger, waiting for new hosts and new ways to spread, hence the "stay home" order is still in place. While the country seems to have already attained a certain level of ability to effectively deal with suspected and proven cases of COVID-19, Filipinos are expected to continue to exercise personal responsibility and sense of regard for the welfare of the community not only to defend themselves and their loved ones from the disease but to also protect the health care workers and other front-liners, their vulnerable countrymen, and both the health care system and the economy.

 

Our survival as a nation and as a people is still at stake. The shift to GCQ from ECQ or MECQ is not the "new normal." We will only achieve the goal of finally being under such state if we will together, cooperate with our leaders, follow the rules, and think of how our actions affect not only our loved ones but also other people and the community. For once, we Filipinos should become responsible for ourselves, our loved ones and our communities, for doing so is the only way for all of us be under the "new normal" and beat the disease that is COVID-19.

BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS
About the Author
Benedict is an agricultural economist, academician and writer. He has gained experience and expertise in various fields of economics, business, political science and public relations after through professional ventures in the academe, and in the public and private sectors. He has authored or co-authored key publications on topics ranging from agriculture and food security to global affairs and politics.
Other Articles