By James Veloso | Published: September 25, 2020
Who on earth at the Department of Transportation (DOTr) thought it wise to reduce the space of social distancing between public transport passengers?
In case you didn’t hear it, the DOTr is aiming to reduce the space between passengers on public transport like buses and trains on a gradual basis: from one meter to 0.75 meters, and ultimately, to 0.3 meters by October.
Naturally, the plan has been opposed by medical experts and even some members of the Inter-agency Task Force (IATF) on COVID-19.
Very Much Around
The reason for the opposition is pretty obvious: have we forgotten that the COVID-19 virus is still around?
What’s the use of encouraging the public to stay at least a meter apart if we’re just going to pack them again like sardines inside buses and trains?
As President Rodrigo Duterte himself has said, we can’t afford another Metro-wide lockdown, which, I’m sure, health experts would once again clamor if COVID-19 cases once again zoom out of control.
Why are we rushing ourselves to go back to normal when it’s pretty obvious that, until a viable vaccine has been developed, we CANNOT go back to the old normal?
Apparently, more and more Filipinos are turning to planting as a way to stave off the boredom and anxiety that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought.
Horticulture has suddenly become an unlikely booming business in past months.
Reports have it that garden supply centers have seen an eight-fold increase in sales from a year ago.
Unfortunately, the industry, like many others, is prone to abuse.
There are now reports of poachers scouring protected areas for endangered species and exotic plants now fetching thousands of pesos apiece.
There’s nothing wrong, actually, with this new trend. I myself hope that the rise of “plantitos” and “plantitas” (as gardening enthusiasts are now jokingly called) will increase awareness on the dire need of green spaces in our urban areas.
But, maybe, the government should capitalize on this trend and boost urban farming, especially in Metro Manila.
I have no doubt that this move could solve the problems of food security and providing livelihood for our farmers in the time of the pandemic.
And I definitely agree with the suggestions of some experts that the government should step in to regulate this industry to prevent endangered species from falling victim to greedy collectors.