The Philippines: fighting a virus with police

[Photo by Maria Tan/AFP/Getty Images via the Irish Times]

By Joe America

The Philippines is a tribal “power and privilege” society pretending to be democratic. Or maybe more accurately, it is a democratic republic, by rule book . . . the Constitution . . . but the tribes just don’t get the concept.

When a crisis comes to town and the Mayor is tribal, he acts like a bona fide autocrat, deploying his police force to keep the little people in line. Arresting the hungry, threatening the innocent, and putting free speech into the deep freeze.

The problem is that most educated Filipinos understand that competence cannot be played as a game. You have to be candid. Honest. Competence and transparency are democratic ideals along with taking care of all the people rather than ordering them about, using, and abusing them.

So we see the Duterte Administration daily receiving a lot of criticism. For the thuggish ways of the police, the red tape at check points, the late and confused distribution of food and cash, and a fundamental neglect of doctors and nurses. Recent history reflects mistake after mistake. Keeping flights coming in from China, not getting masks and test kits, and being late with protective gear for medical workers.

“We are a model country” the top Department of Health guy once notoriously and laughably claimed.

The private sector and individuals within government had to step into the vacuum to get test kits, transportation for medical workers, protective garb, and now even ventilators. What did the high control autocrats demand? That all donations be directed to the national government for distribution, a step sure to stop some donations and to allow self-dealing political players to put their greedy hands into the pie. Or attach their names to donations. Like “Bong Go”.

The Philippines is a model country, I agree. Of how autocratic means are cruel, and high control policies cut against the grain of immediate relief. You can’t really fight a virus with popularity, or with police.

You have to think AHEAD of the curve, not reactively. And you have to use streamlined decision-making, cut-to-the chase problem-solving, and high-energy production of what is needed before the shortage becomes critical.

It’s a war, and each challenge is a battle, to be won or lost.

The Philippines is losing too many battles. Masks. Travel. Test Kits. PPE. Red Tape. Getting aid out.

Arresting struggling Filipinos is not a win against the disease.

The Philippines does not even have that one decision-maker who can boldly take the decisions needed. The President is packaged as a You Tube video presentation in the wee hours of the night, spewing threats, barely intelligible one-liners, and ad hominem insults against decent people (Chel Diokno). There is no one in charge, beneath him, with the courage and assignment to cure the problems.

The Administration, by taking a high-control demand for order, has made Filipinos the enemy, not the virus. It is successfully blocking supplies, arresting the victims, starving the desperate, and stifling dissent. Government has to deploy trolls to pretend success when the use of such rabble is in fact an admission of failure.

The results cannot stand on their merits.

Government resources would be much better deployed manufacturing ventilators than paying trolls.

And the police would be much better deployed helping people rather than arresting them.


95 Responses to “The Philippines: fighting a virus with police”
  1. EJK (less) = COVID19 (more)

    EJK not optimal, one bullet at a time.

    COVID19 more optimal one household at a time.

    less and more.

    If EJKs didn’t push Filipinos into rebellion, because hey it’s just those people that live over there who smell funny.

    Then COVID19 should, because why does that rich dude get a ventilator while I can’t have one.

    So for the US and the Philippines, more body bags while seeing the rich get more out of this crisis and not less, should motivate people to rise up.

    You’ll not see it there because people have no guns; But I think if they wait long enough for the economy to tank and/or more bodies to pile up, over here, over here, you’ll see this.

    That i think is the true potential of COVID19. But COVID19 has to produce.

    But who knows maybe you’ll see it in the Philippines too!

  2. Jim Punsalan says:

    Great commentary, as is usual!

  3. karlgarcia says:

    Disappointed by Lgus not allowing hospitals to accept non residents.
    Disappointed by Lgus not allowing non residents to enter
    …….not allowing trucks with food, supplies to make food to enter
    Disappointed by people who harass,hurt, discriminate the sick and the health workers.

    The police is not the problem here, there are people who just pasaway.
    But they must not dare shoot the troublemakers like what Duterte told them too.

    LCX said it too many rich got tokhanged or ejked, I somewhat agree
    But this COVID chooses no one.
    The rich can hire all the private this and that, but they aint no supermen.

      • karl,

        Think about this.

        Over here doctors are just doctors, we don’t really kow tow to them the way you guys do over there, and like in the rest of 3rd world; that’s why Indian or Iranian doctors here have a really hard time, because Americans with only high school education challenge them, challenge their diagnosis, their treatment— even more so now with Google.

        Over there doctors like lawyers, engineers, priests and politicians, are more equal than others, they are like demigods in status, thus we can appropriately surmise that in hospitals doctors will get better care than your regular person in the Philippines, karl.

        So then just expand that knowledge of Filipino culture, your culture (of connections and such, of cutting lines… ) and apply it to not only doctors there but all the folks with connections, meaning rich,

        sure I agree with you that COVID19 don’t chose, but quality of care will not be dished out equally is my point here, and I’m sure Micha would agree also, that goes for both here and over there. We’ve just been better at pretending we’re all equal over here, plus we feel rich keeping up with the Kardashians.

        • karlgarcia says:

          Again, thanks.

          • sonny says:

            Exercising free-association thought experiment:

            Running virus-race vs human can-do spirit as in deploying qualified manpower, i.e. doctors, nurses, medical technicians (all speak medical English), the Philippines has a surplus of.

            US Army Corps of Engineers rapidly deploying hospital facilities to care for medium-to-minimum Corona-stricken victims; American demand has need for surplus;

            Is this algorithm doable for an interim solution so that American frontliners can be platooned for rest & survival; American know-how given some wiggle-room to be operational?

            Precedent: Visitor Exchange Program of the ’60s allowed precious time for US Cold War effort to keep a balance of good-sense. IMO.

            • karlgarcia says:

              Here National defense act amendments should be done to include national security and human security. Implementaion had always been the problem here but money is no object and it is always the subject.

              Man, this COVID has hit close to home literally.
              My sis is battling TB meningitis due to history of PTB, but she will be tested for COVID .

              I also have history of PTB andI hope and pray that I would not get a relapse like she did.

              • sonny says:

                Neph, malusutan natin COVID, I’m optimistic may drugs/antibiotics pang-control ng TB microbes.

                “These may include isoniazid, rifampin, streptomycin, and ethambutol. Treatment should last for at least 9 months to one year. Corticosteroid drugs such as prednisone may also be of benefit.”

                Isoniazid was my therapy as a 26-yr old fighting PTB-minimal. I had to postpone immigration and undergo Isoniazid therapy for 2 years to render the microbe dormant and then regular x-ray check-ups to make sure of inactivity. Wala pang prednisone noon. Wala pang -statins din.

              • sonny says:

                Pahabol, Ambistryn was also used at onset. As always, your primary physician is quarterback for your appropriate therapy. Watch out for diabetes also masyadong damaging ang diabetes, systemic kasi. Watch that A1C level religiously.

              • karlgarcia says:

                Thanks Unc

              • karlgarcia says:

                By the way I had taken all of those my self 1996 to 1997.

              • Pablo says:

                So, PLEASE take care of yourself and don’t take any ANY risks. PLEASE

              • karlgarcia says:

                Thanks Pablo take care as well.

            • Pablo says:

              Let’s not over complicate things.
              Throwing manpower at the virus snd letting it roam free ?? Well Sir, probably you should have a look at the video which came out of N-Italy and consider if YOU would be willing to work on the ICU or work as an undertaker. Or agree to the deathrate of the virus running free. Even in the US, where they made the decision to isolate way too late, the will get a deathrate twice that of Vietnam but would have gotten away with only a few if they had taken effective measures straight away. Philippines just does not have sufficient resources with 0.5 hospital bed per 100000 people where Italy had 5 times more and Germany 10 times more. Look at China where they isolated relatively early, flattened the curve ruthlessly and the economy has hardly suffered. And compare that to the US where they isolated too late and the economy is being hit hard. Or Italy which is now begging for help because their economy is hit worse.
              Philippines already has wasted a long time taking effective measures and now is on a crossroads where they have to show if they have the stamina and leadership to nick this problem in the butt or let the devil out of the box.
              Simple request: look to the video’s emerging from Italy and consider if you could live with yourself if you would make the decision that this happens everywhere in Philippines.
              Or do you have the stamina and leadership to work the problem until a solution emerges: vaccin or treatment method.
              I hope we will have this discussion again kn July. Stay safe.

              • karlgarcia says:

                The MMA and Pro wrestling has not yet stopped in the US,even if enjoy them both, I am very afraid for the athletes, owners and crew

              • sonny says:

                “I hope we will have this discussion again kn July. Stay safe.”

                Yessir, let’s not complicate things. Every time he steps out of the house to report to the ER. The wife and I pray very hard, that he does not bring harm to himself, his patients and us!!

                Yes. Stay safe wherever you are.

  4. NHerrera says:


    In a variation of my recent posting in the previous “free speech” blog,

    the dark part of politics rears its ugly head in PH, too — in heavier doses. Nothing to add at the moment. Thanks for the piece.

  5. Pablo says:

    We were visiting friends in South Africa and got stuck here. Complete lockdown.
    But, the comparison between the Philippines and South Africa is surprising. Even if both countries have huge area’s where poor people live, the approach has been very different.
    The SA president held consultation meetings with ALL groups in the country, agreed in broad lines what his advisors presented and 30 minutes later then held a dignified but emotional presentation on TV. The shutdown measures are here also implemented using police and army, sometimes things get out of hand, but every day the ministers present what happened and how they proceed. Tough, but dignified, consistent, respectful and never scared to admit errors or problems.
    Being in SA is a bit scary, if they do not get it under control soon, the virus will spread uncontrolled in the townships and neither the medical resources nor the food situation will be sufficient to prevent a disaster. But the whole country realizes what is going on and is unified behind the president and his government and it is impressive what is all being done to prevent that disaster from happening.
    The difference is glaring.
    I hope you guys stay safe, i wish I was home, but my heart is with SA where people are fighting for their survival. As a country. Dignified.

    • NHerrera says:

      Useful information. Stay safe too.

    • karlgarcia says:

      They have the highest number of TB and Hiv which hopefully would. Not be joined by COVID. Unfortunately so do we(high number of to and hiv)

      • Pablo says:

        Sure, but funny enough this also gives the people in SA strength. They have been there, injected all (well, almost) BCG and then tested all (again… most) on HIV. Now, the analyzers are used to test on Corona. And the medical world realized that there is only ONE solution: test, test, test, test & control. Same with the police & army, they have been there.

        Phil has other strengths: educated people, hospitals & barangays. But these are squandered in political infighting. Luckily, Philippines has friends.. The Chinese will certainly be willing to help when things get out of control completely… The price will have to be paid later, no doubt.

      • That makes sense, I guess South Africa is a veteran at all this epidemic and pandemic stuff, and have already been thru it. I gotta feeling West Africa having gone thru Ebola are probably giggling about COVID-19.

  6. karlgarcia says:

    Useless to not ignore them NH, next time try to if you can.

  7. karlgarcia says:

    If we have half the discipline of the old Japanese we could afford not to lockdown.

    • karl,

      TOKYO — Japanese law makes it “impossible” to impose a forced shutdown in Tokyo as seen in other global cities such as New York or Paris, Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike told the Nikkei Asian Review.

      Because Japan’s law puts emphasis on protecting personal rights, a lockdown is impossible,” Koike said in an interview on Friday, adding that she can ask for “no more than voluntary restraint.” Earlier in the day, she again urged the public to stay home at the weekend.

      Novel coronavirus cases in Tokyo have been increasing rapidly since last week, with another 89 new cases on Friday after 97 the previous day. The question now is whether the city will impose stricter measures to prevent the further spread of the virus.

      Lol ! I’m pretty sure Gen. Doug MacArthur was the source of said personal rights! thus via the US Constitution.

      But my point here is that of course all nations (national to local gov’ts) can institute some sort of lock down, even before the US Constitution and all this individual rights fetish became vogue. i’m talking thru out history here, karl.

      Any government’s balancing act (whatever monarchy, theocracy, etc. and thru out history) , every governments balancing act is between individual and public good.

      When to go one way or the other is the skill here, like i’ve said in the previous blog, Hillary would’ve already nationalized and militarized all this already that’s her pattern, my knowledge of America tells me that’s the worst play this early on, especially given her track record.

      This goes back to carrot and the stick, karl. When people are scared and panicked, the carrot dipped in peanut butter or ranch goes down better than the stick, the stick will just piss people off unnecessarily creating a crowd control situation, thus spreading COVID-19.

      I’m impressed with Trump, though he’s not very eloquent , he is shining as a salesman, which he it all his life he’s been. if you do a hard sell, people back away; soft sell is what he’s doing.

      Steve Bannon for the past 2 months now, along with Neil DeGrasse Tyson, but not together have been urging for a full lockdown, prisoners in homes, no one out, for a good 1 month. Two minds from different ideologies, converging. that’s the only play really, but

      Trump needs to convince the American people. like herding cats, karl. So that’s individual vs. public good in a nutshell. Very easy to monday morning quarterback, 20/20 hindsight is always the case, but appreciate the real time manueverings, Hillary would not have been okay with press conferences every damn night, karl.

  8. Danding Yotoko says:

    Last night DOH announced that out of some 19k+ cases tested — on PUIs and privileged PUMs who are most likely to be infected — only 17 percent turned out to be positive! So maybe this virus is not so easily infectious after all.

    That official statistic should be enough to warrant removal of oppressive checkpoints and bureaucratic travel passes. Limited public transport should be allowed for essential travel. Not just health and food workers, but also poor families that need to reach their own networks for support when govt assistance cannot reach them.

    I agree, police are better redeployed from manning checkpoints to augmenting barangay manpower resources in distribution of food relief packs to the poor.

    • Thanks for the statistics, Danding. Firmness with compassion is needed. And common sense for an exception now and then.

      • caliphman says:

        Those statistics are in line with CV contagion in its initial stages or when it is tapering off. In Wisconson, as the above linked article states, it’s under ten percent. In Washington State where the virus claimed its earliest victims but mitigation efforts seem to have succeeded, it’s also under 10%. In New York the percentage positive is much higher. The reason? Test capacity is still limited and subject to more delays and it is prioritized to the more acute CV cases and healthcare professionals. The Philippines has very limited testing capacity and the the virus is in its infancy, about 4 to 8 weeks behind New York and Italy. Moreover and unfortunately a much larger proportion of testing is diverted to powerful and wealthy families and their staff who may be just displaying or no symptoms.

    • Pablo says:

      17% positive only? That might (!!) Indicate that the wrong people are being tested and the testkits are being wasted. Maybe some privileged people like their family to be tested??
      Why else such a low rate? This does not seem to happen elsewhere apart from Korea and China where a mass testing approach is taken. (But they have the resources to do that)

    • karlgarcia says:

      Also to note that a suspected positive case is tested about 4 to 5 times until they are sure it is positive, some are actually positive some are negative.
      We also have some recovered patients who became positive after testing upon follow-up and checkup for another ailment.

      It is true that red tape must also be reviewed on next incidents.

      We all hope that this is never repeated but we must hope for the best and expect the worst.

  9. Francis says:

    Well many of the populist leaders have been in denial for a long period with this virus and you can see very well the impacts : Boris Johnson in intensive care, Trump not knowing what to do and trying to buy with all his dollars the stocks of masks in China or trying to buy a german pharmaceutical firm. Putin is trying to hide what is happening in Moscow. Bolsonario is still denying the epidemics in Brazil. And China asked the international donors which helped Wuhan at the beginning not to publicize their help. But now that China seems to go better it publicizes its help to Italy etc and tries to present itself as a hero which will save the world.
    Among all these populists, I would say the Philippines government was the most pro-active. If I compare with France, my country I would have to admit that DU30 was more pro active than Macron. France started its lockdown March 17 when the number of positive for corona passed from 4500 cases to 5423 cases with 127 deaths. Philippines started the lock down of Metro Manila when the number of positive cases passed from 6 to 111 cases. DU30 could have waited more than 5000 cases like most countries in Europe.
    Now, of course, we will see how the population will manage to survive this lockdown and how the period of de-confinement will be managed. Many OFW will be out of work and an important part of the remittances will be lacking. If the money from the DSWD can reach the families this week it will be good.

    • I don’t think Duterte was more proactive. The Philippines dilly-dallied with testing until all of a sudden a Filipina returning to Australia had the virus as well as a Japanese returning from the Philippines. Then a week later a Senate resource person had infected Senators. And days a later Filipino middle and upper class people died and tested positive after. Denial and then knee jerk reactions instead of proactively finding out the truth and rationality is the Filipino way of dealing with issues.

      Just like having a lockdown and not thinking of supply chains. Or do most Filipinos lack the capability to visualize what might happen in the near future? Too expert at playing things by ear and crossing the bridge when you get there?

      Germany is in a kind of lockdown, different per state, but all took care not to shut down public transport and keep factories running as much as possible. And there were task forces up to monitor supply chains and source medical equipment. Someone in the Philippines mentioned that many in the government don’t even get what a supply chain is. Also to make sure that resources are monitored and sufficient, every town in Bavaria now has a coordinating doctor who knows how many doctors are available, now many sick or quarantined, current need for PPEs so the Ministry of Health does not need to over monitor locally – and can concentrate on making sure there are enough ICU beds, auxiliary hospitals and ventilators. While Federal can take care of masks and general guidelines.

      Contrast that with the Philippines leaving all to the LGUs, then getting mad at them, then recentralizing without knowing how many people are needful. Germany knows that because that is administered by local welfare offices over here.

      Just like a recent article mentioned Germany’s local health offices as a strength. I recall how I became a PUM for TB in the 1980s, summons from the health office, test and clearance. The network of small labs existing in Germany was also mentioned as a key advantage. More cases of course but better know the truth and deal with it early. The Philippines most certainly has a huge gray zone of unknown cases that could cause a renewed spread.One reason was the control freak attitude of the DOH with regards to laboratories.

      • Francis says:

        Germany is the exception in Europe. They are much more equipped than is France, Belgium, Italy, Spain etc. In France we have the same un-preparation than Philippines even though we have more modern equipment. I think it is unfair to attack PH on that. Most countries in the world did not want to act pro actively. The only exceptions were Singapore, Taiwan, Japan and Hong Kong. But now they are facing a second wave (at least Singapore and Japan).,

        • Pablo says:

          An interesting excuse for NOT taking action in time. If you have 0.5 hospital beds per 1000 people, you know that you don’t have the resources, so a good leader will have to take a room to prevent people getting sick in pandemic. And order equipment to monitor infected people. South Africa (where I got stuck) did this and I am not sure they can prevent the virus from taking hold in the townships. How much less Philippines. I am happy that Iloilo decided to go the extra mile, but even then…… It will be an interesting “race”, I am just sad that a country with so many islands, so many options to sectionalize containment, has waited so long to make use of their unique options. Stop playing politics, there is a problem. Fix it and then decide who did the right thing. Elections will follow this pandemic.

          • Francis says:

            The Batanes province has no cases. They imposed a lockdown already on February, one month before the national government took action. It really depends also of the LGUs

  10. Philippine governance is a jumbled mix of postcolonial and tribal stuff. The latent dissonance between national and local became clear during this crisis. National leaves stuff to local, gets mad, local blocks supply chains, acts arbitrary, national takes stuff back, calls the cops, tries to administer billions in aid without knowing who exactly should get it. Weak governance where it took two years for bottom-up-budgeting of a simple barangay hall in Bikol to money disbursed is clearly overwhelmed. It also was during Yolanda, but Pnoy/Mar worked around it relatively well.

    A local leader trying to run national like local makes stuff even more confused. Clearly the “native” can relate better to the local leader style but without technocratic capability no results. VP Leni and Vico Sotto blend a Filipino communication style with modern effectivity, that should be the “peg”.

    The common Filipino sees the national government as distant and disconnected. DOH has acted that way recently, like a colonial government dealing with savages, not citizens. Bringing together the tough legacies of Philippine governance and modernizing them is the biggest challenge.

      • sonny says:

        I agree – basic and substantial illustration of where we can go; I find hope that this dyad of solidarity & subsidiarity can be played out in a developmental way given the chance.

    • Francis says:

      What I see in the Philippines is a lot and I say a lot of solidarity among Filipinos and it has nothing to do with tribes believe me ! No publicity about it, on T.V etc. just local. with very useful barangay officials who sometimes are frustrated because DSWD or Dole are slow. Tribes have nothing to do with that, red tape yes ….

      • NHerrera says:

        Francis, there are undesirable developments in PH’s fight against the coronavirus, no doubt, but I can sense the solidarity you speak of.

        I do not know if this has occurred here, but I read that in India health workers are being attacked. That is a strange case of solidarity.

        • My comment was about governance. Without human solidarity that Filipinos are known for, the country would be catastrophic.

          INSPITE of the government you have VP Leni, Angel Locsin, Gang Badoy, women that are spearheading humanitarian drives way more efficiently than government.

          Yes there are local leaders like Vico Sotto, but also Joy Belmonte of QC where the distribution of help to the poor seems catastrophic. There are helpful barangay captains and there are thuggish ones. Maybe even those who are both depending on whether they see you as supporter or “enemy” – so tribal again. There is the “Republic of Iloilo”, also called “Wakanda” for being light-years ahead of other parts of the country. There is the Cebu governor who forced a critic to apologize on TV with a cop standing beside him.

          There are also bosses in companies who help employees who have not eaten in days.

          But there also is the NBI going after those who mention a jet. So it is a very varied picture.

          • karlgarcia says:

            DENR not allowing criticism of Duterte.

          • NHerrera says:

            Yes, thanks, Irineo

          • Francis says:

            Irineo, this patchwork of situations in the Philippines is political, not tribal, we have the same in France. Each mayor in France is reacting differently. The same in the US, each governor is reacting differently. I think we are facing the most important crisis since WWII and most of the politicians in the world were not prepared. The exceptions, at least for now : Germany, Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan. All other have been caught by surprise and Philippines is no exception.

          • Francis says:

            Two things could help the Philippines

            1) Most of the seriously ill patients are above 65 years old. The population of the Philippines is very young

            2) 85% of those with complications are obese. If obesity is starting to be a problem in the PH it is still far from US or European countries

          • sonny says:

            On a lighter vein, last December was the 60th anniversary of COBOL invented by Rear Admiral Grace Hopper. The business world was never the same again after this invention: The giant shoulders with three others, Gene Amdahl, Seymour Cray and John Backus brought in the mainframes. IMO.

  11. karlgarcia says:

    Arrest people for violating quarantine to pack them up like sardines. So much for social distancing.

  12. NHerrera says:

    Straying from the topic — a mathematical note


    I am induced to write this note because the recent news seems to suggest that in some places such as New York, Italy, Spain, there are indications of the approaching peak in the curve. It is something we would ardently hope for. Lacking viable medicines and vaccines, that may have been helped by practical measures in place, with variations, in most countries or parts of the country: personal hygiene, social-distancing, testing, contact tracing, lockdown, quarantine.

    Two data sets can help us in this: the new cases chart and the new deaths chart. [The caveat of course is that we are dealing with official confirmed cases or deaths from covid19, not on the real new cases or new deaths from the virus.] One chart assisting the other to gleam the coming of the peak.

    A clear indication of course is one where the new case [assisted by the new death] chart reaches a point and drops precipitously or steeply as in a cliff, confirmed days later with more rapid drop. But this may not be the case in most instances.

    How then can we divine this approaching peak?

    The explosive phase of the spread is an exponential growth of the new cases which appears clearly in a normal chart as a concave upward curve [or as a straight line in a log (new cases)-linear (time) chart]. A developing peak may evolve as follows:

    – first phase: a linear growth or series of linear growths of declining steepness;
    – second phase: a stabilizing or plateauing phase, short or long;
    – third phase: a decline, gradual or steep.

    I can sense the first phase and initial emergence of the second phase in Italy, Spain and the US — although the new cases and new deaths are still pronounced and will continue short-term and vary in their ups and downs. This is where moving averages help. I believe as does others that the next 2-3 weeks will be crucial.

    By the way, I wrote in TSH on the 27th of March that by the 10th day — meaning April 6 — the US will have reached 400,000 total cases. I am off. It is only now, April 8, when 399,000 cases (ref, JHU-CSSE Dashboard) has been reached.

    • That’s close enough for betting men and women. My index crashed when DOH stopped reporting PUIs the other day. All they report now is confirmed cases, recoveries, and deaths. The dashboard also no longer reports number of PUIs tested. My new index is 7-day average of new confirmed cases in the denominator and the 7-day average of recoveries plus deaths in the numerator. When it hits 100%, hospitals will be maxed out and relief will soon be coming. Presuming reported figures are anywhere close to being real.

      • NHerrera says:

        I like your Index. It has a nice graphic to it. The bucket is drained with recoveries + deaths, making room for the new cases:

        – when N (new cases) > R (recoveries)+D (deaths), Index < 100%
        when the N = R+D, Index = 100%
        – when the N is less than R+D, Index > 100%, more med facilities for incoming.

  13. mel says:

    COVID-19 kills. Fear of Covid-19 also kills. Both take lives away in their own ways. Stay on the course to continue economic process or stay off the economic process to mitigatecovid spread. The question is which kills more and produces more misery and sadness.
    What is my agenda…ENJOY LIFE…I Thank You Lord for this blessing. Enjoy the present, learn from the past, worry not on the future. Continue to live (till God calls back) to produce and create, to invent and innovate, to serve and entertain, to deter war and maintain peace, etc. , that others aside from yourself may benefit.
    Living has many risks. If there is no risk, there is no joy. If one has no experience of failure, would one know success? If one has not known sadness, will one enjoy happiness?
    The present pandemic is indeed an EYE OPENER. Trust no one but yourself when it comes to one’s own life. It is not selfish. To sacrifice one’s life that others may live is indeed a noble decision but to sacrifice one’s life so another being will profit is questionable. Produce for yourself and what is extra you give free or for exchange is commendable. Produce not for yourself that you may profit will bite you back.
    In war, many sacrificed their lives so that war will end and many will continue to live in peace and less misery.
    In this present war of the unseen enemy, some have to sacrifice their lives too to stay a normal life in peace and less misery.
    Is letting people back to work the course to take? I would say YES.
    Yes, but it has to be done in a disciplined way as to give no harm to others…the question is…are people disciplined enough?
    With two people, there were two disciplines of thought. Then there was one because because one was able to convince the other. The convincer was the leader and the convincee became the follower, they both trust one’s self, one trusted himself to lead so that he may live, the other trusted himself that he follows so he can also live.
    In this present world, there are leaders and followers. And the good leader is one who is always thinking for the good of his followers. And the good leader also takes risk, a calculated risk.
    One leader tends to be democratic, because his followers act democratic. Another leader is non-democratic because his followers wants to be governed in this manner.
    But then there are also aspirant leaders and their paid barkers. They are like dogs barking anything to discredit the good leader. They bark half truths and half lies, they bark loudly lies many times, over and over again. And they bark softly truths hoping nobody hears these truths.
    And my frenz everyone has an agenda. Mine is a selfish agenda because it is for one’s self benefit…my agenda is TO ENJOY LIFE so I can give praise to HIM Who has made me.

  14. NHerrera says:


    From my readings today, this quote from Pogo is spot on:

    “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

    It seems to be written for the times we live today.

    [N.B. Pogo is a daily comic strip that was created by cartoonist Walt Kelly and was syndicated to American newspapers from 1948 until 1975.]

  15. NHerrera says:


    What is Paul Krugman, an American Nobel Laureate in Economics, scared of more than covid-19 or US economic depression? It is the dying of democracy in the US as evidenced by GOP’s move — eventually backed by the Supreme Court — insisting on holding Wisconsin Election as if the situation is normal, in spite of the fact that Wisconsin is under a shelter-in-place order.

  16. NHerrera says:


    The cat food item below made me laugh. But then I am not a cat lover. Sad story, nevertheless.

    A couple spent a day calling creditors asking for more lenient payment terms on their Target card, their cable bill and other expenses. Most were understanding, they said.

    “We have to prioritize what we’re purchasing — our cat food, our own food,” Ms. Douglass, 40, said. “We would usually rent a movie on Vudu, but now that’s out the window. Every dime is important to us.”

    In 3 weeks some 18 million in the US filed unemployment forms, that is approximately 14% of the full-time employment of about 130 million in 2019. Some estimate those filing unemployment insurance may reach as much as 25% or about 33 million.

    • sonny says:

      “Some estimate those filing unemployment insurance may reach as much as 25% or about 33 million.”

      COBOL programmers invited to volunteer their services to help this situation.

        • sonny says:

          Neph, seriously, you and Irineo can learn COBOL in quick time. My classmate at AdeM can easily gather 100 Filipino COBOL programmers (even 70-somethings) and fix that New Jersey problem over telephone lines if they are asked. Some monetary incentive would help, of course. I once came across a similar situation calling for ’60s programmers to help make a course correction for one of the Voyager probes because the guys who wrote the program were fading away fast. (Note: that classmate is very much alive and kicking in Manila. By this time, if he has heard of this he’ll do something about. He maintained MERALCO’s system like the back of his hand.)

          • karlgarcia says:

            That was still part of the curriculum during my long stay at the Universiity,
            I am no model student, Irineo am sure is one.

            Two or three years ago, NASA resurrected a dead language FORTRAN to save all old existing projects, now FORTRAN has a new version.

            Now since many will avail of the unemployment system, programmers from the 90s will show up to the rescue.

            • sonny says:

              I think you’re right about those ’90s programmers coming to the rescue, Neph. It’s been 8 days since the announcement came out. I haven’t seen a repeat of the call.

              • karlgarcia says:

                Some of them are fresh retirees.

              • sonny says:

                Time, change, viruses, moving on must figure in the design & shelf-life of man-made technology products. A truism we followed a long time ago was to make programs easy to follow in case a Mack truck would wipe out the guys who had to deal with programs we wrote or modified. Irineo would have a version of this I’m sure.

                “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.” — Heraclitus, 500 B.C.

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