BECOMING A DABAWENYO: Lifting Liquor Ban

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 18 September) — Liquor Ban was implemented last April 6 here in Davao City to prevent spreading COVID-19 infection from drinking sessions. There was no question made by the public during Extended Community Quarantine since everybody was in panic and afraid to be infected by COVID-19 virus. And now, announcement came out that the liquor ban will be lifted by September 21.  When we look at the fact, as of September 17, Davao City recorded 1,630 COVID-19 cases (236 of them active), compared to 65 as of April 6.  What situation increased the chances of COVID-19 virus to infect more people?

In order to understand this conflict of action announced by government, we should see from two different points of view. No question that reason of Country or Government is primarily there to protect life and asset of people’s belongings. Therefore, if an unknown virus risk rises up, immediately the shutdown of entry from other areas and stopping lively activities to prevent spreading in the locality; all these while analyzing the ongoing risks and preparations for cases of infections. These include new legal guidance, hospital spaces, isolation facility and ventilators.

On this side of view, the final solution shall be finding or developing cure that can be sold at affordable price, with long-term solution of vaccination to all the peoples in Philippines to prevent symptoms to happen. This step is called Survival Stage. And of course, secondly, make people’s life better through several supports by government and infrastructure development, education system / facility development.

Another point of view is “Economy is life of the Country.”  During the first stage of COVID-19 pandemic, the government provides financial support for those who lost income. Also, medical service assistance, implementing force to prevent spreading virus, free food service, grocery distribution, and others. Those resources purely came from TAX income which resulted from economic activities. If government continues to close the economy and become ZERO in resources to provide all the government function, the country will be just a land area and people’s lives there with no aid provided will have to return to primitive period.

These key points of view give the leader a dilemma and it must be hard to strike a balance with both concerns. It’s also impossible to have people 100% satisfied however good the decisions are made by the leaders. With current pandemic which we have never experienced in our own life, there is no answer to solve situation if we depend entirely on what is provided by government. Please note good advice from former President of United States John F. Kennedy: “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.”

We are also obligated and responsible to DO for our country or government for us to protect our life. And also, guidance from Charles Darwin, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” We are now facing to change awareness and being to survive this pandemic together.

When the time this COVID-19 pandemic started, government kept on mentioning to us: “We have to adopt New Normal” to face and survive from this big impact calamity we are being forced to face. What are the new norms to prevent the spreading virus have we adapted in the past six months? Wearing face mask / shield, Social Distancing, frequent hand washing, Online Education / Business transaction to alternate or minimize contact with others, etc. I have big question to people; “Does it make us comfortable or does it improve quality of life?” New normal makes us only sacrifice to just survive? I wish NOT that way to live for the rest of our lives.

Lifting liquor ban to save people belonging in that industry (not limited to manufacture, store, restaurant, distributor) because of the economic life of the government. Yes, but we have to adapt to New Normal to consider its primary function which is saving lives of people from COVID-19 virus. If for the sake of sale in store for drink at house, enjoying the drinking at restaurant or bar with protection seal between others may limit exposure. But this may not deliver the expectation of satisfaction as we want it.

We improve our life quality by expanding economic / personal activities with knowing / experiencing new things include meeting new set of people / society. On the way, discovering new things, did we review what we already have or gained before? Did we appreciate how we are rather than gaining more?

My own understanding of “New Normal” is not 100% face your eyes to outside, it also faces to inside. You may not able to enjoy drinking with your friends, but you gain more time for yourself and your family. You may not eat outside; you can experience time cooking together with your family. And now you are given the opportunity to be co-responsible for the future of country. New Normal is reducing your exposure and satisfaction from outside, but increasing happiness you already have especially from yourself. There is unlimited opportunity to gain happiness from this wide world, But, same time unlimited opportunity for yourself.

(MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. Keisuke Nakao is a Japanese National who runs a food processing export business. He has been staying in Mindanao for 17 years, and he fondly identifies himself as a Dabawenyo or a Mindanawon. Keisuke is a former President of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce, Inc. He can be reached through [email protected])

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