INSIDE PAGE | Fernan A. Gianan:

TSROs to replace “tingi-tingi” fuel stores?

Compared to the 42 new cases recorded during the previous week, the new COVID-19 cases tallied by the Provincial Health Office for the period Feb. 4-11, 2022 came up to only 21.

Nine came from Virac, three each from San Andres and Bato, two each from Pandan and Caramoran, and one each from Baras and Bagamanoc.

Of the 17 who were symptomatic, one succumbed to the disease: a 60-year-old former LGU employee from Bato who reportedly had a heart attack, was sent to a government hospital and then was transferred to a private hospital where he tested positive for coronavirus.

Majority of the new cases had no history of travel, with females comprising 76% of the total.

This brought the COVID-19 death toll in Catanduanes to 129, with 2,972 recoveries out of the total 3,158 confirmed cases.

The downtrend in new cases is apparently giving rise to a belief among islanders that the pandemic is on the wane and that the new normal would come before the first half of 2022 is over.

Ironically, the same conviction, even if not founded on medical evidence, is giving reason for vaccine holdouts not to get the jab.

On the other hand, many are choosing not to get tested even if they have flu-like symptoms for fear of being sent to a quarantine facility and its discomforts. They are choosing to treat themselves at home and would probably go to the hospital only if the symptoms get worse.

Sources say that the three-day National Vaccination Days last week did not entice a lot of unvaccinated Catandunganons to vaccination centers. There is even a report that some residents of far-flung barangays have been shutting their doors and windows ahead of vaccination teams visiting their homes.

As of Monday, local health officials have yet to release the statistics for NVD-3.

According to the DOH Bicol’s Biosurveillance Report om COVID-19 Variants based on samples submitted as of Jan. 30, 2022, Catanduanes has had a total of 159 variant cases: eight (8) of the Alpha variant, 13 of the Beta variant, 138 of the more dangerous Delta variant, and none so far for the highly transmissible Omicron variant.

Let us hope the Omicron variant, even if there is the possibility that it has already been brought to the island by travelers, would not infect many people.

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The DILG recently issued Memorandum Circular No. 2022-011 providing guidelines in the construction, storage, handling, and use of flammable and combustible liquids for the so-called Technology-Solution Retail Outlets (TSRO).

The TSRO, which refers to fuel vending machines, is supposed to replace the “bote-bote” sale of liquid fuel such as gasoline and diesel which is prohibited by the Department of Energy as it exposes the public to fire, security, health and safety risks.

The guidelines is aimed at providing the fire safety requirements of the coin-operated fuel vending machines, which are being sold from P50,000 to P250,000 in the country and are prevalent in Mindoro, Siargao and Panay.

Understandably, there is doubt as to whether the small “tingi-tingi” gasoline dealers in the island would be able to afford the machines, much less construct the concrete firewalls required to protect the TSRO.

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THE LATE FARMER’S COWS. A farmhand consulted a lawyer. He had long tended the late farmer’s cows and believed they would his when the farmer died. Now the farmer’s son claimed ownership.

“I’ll take your case,” said the lawyer, “Don’t worry about the cows.”

The next day the farmer’s son came in. The cows were raised on his land, he said, they should be his.

“I’ll take your case,” said the lawyer, “Don’t worry about the cows.”

Later, his secretary asked, “How can the cows belong to both?”

“Don’t worry about the cows,” the lawyer said. “The cows will be ours.”

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