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Col. Caramoan, a convenient scapegoat

Republika

The Manila police commander, who was supposed to maintain order during the recent “soft opening” of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ fake white sand Manila Bay beautification project along Roxas Boulevard, was sacked by Camp Crame.


Simply put, the order, which emanated from the Office of the PNP Director General, was due to the fact that Lt. Col. Ariel Caramoan of the Ermita police station supposedly failed to do his job which resulted in mayhem as thousands jostled with each other trying to enter the controversial beachfront.


The grand pakulo was staged by the DENR purportedly to mark “International Coastal Clean-up Day” with a bunch of high-profile guests that included Manila Mayor Isko Moreno (one of the staunchest supporters of the heavily-criticized project), DENR Sec. Roy Cimatu, Labor Sec. Silvestre Bello, Metro Manila Development Authority chief Danny Lim, Department of Social Welfare Development Sec. Rolando Bautista, Commission on Higher Education chairman Prospero de Vera and Cavite Representative Elpidio Barzaga.


Unfortunately, as evidenced by the photographs that appeared in numerous media outlets afterwards, there was virtually no social distancing and little or no wearing of face shields and face masks at all among the perspiration-flecked masses who swarmed like flies to the area.


Many believe, however, that Caramoan was just a convenient scapegoat for the non-implementation of anti-Covid19 health protocols being imposed by the IATF, which could result in more problems for already overcrowded hospitals in the NCR.


The Philippines is the acknowledged leader in Covid infections in Southeast Asia with 290,190 confirmed cases as of Sept. 21.


Pundits said Col. Caramoan was the unfortunate fallguy as somebody had to be sacrificed to take the heat off the real culprits, meaning the organizers of the totally unwarranted spectacle as this is a time of pandemic crisis.
Interior Secretary Ed Ano said he is looking into the culpability of certain local officials in the failure to implement prescribed health protocols during the beachfront gathering, meaning that Caramoan shouldn’t be the only one at fault.


Under strict rules of Malacanang’s Anti-Covid Task Force, all tourism-related events which are intended to draw crowds (such as the temporary opening of the DENR’s P289-million Manila Bay project) are banned during General Community Quarantine (GCQ) which still prevails in Metro Manila due to its high rate of infections.


“No wonder, they didn’t invite Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat to their pakulo,” the same pundits said.


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