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By: Sugbo News | Published Sunday, January 31, 2021
Sugbo News Editorial (January 30, 2021)

Statistics, as defined, is the science of collecting and analyzing numbers in large quantities for the purpose of having a conclusion or observation based from a representative sample. 

By this definition alone, observations culled out of statistical results are presumed indisputable. 

But statistics, if not given its proper context, is dangerous. 

This is what the OCTA Research Group did when it labeled Covid-19 cases in Cebu a "serious concern."

A careful look at the figures have shown that from January 1 to 29, or for 29 days, there are 47,735 new cases in the country and Cebu recorded 812 which is only 1.7 percent of it.

Analyzing the numbers further, out of Cebu Province’s 3.2 million people, the 812 cases translates to 25 cases per 100,000 people. Comparing this data to other areas in the country such as Baguio City, which has a smaller population of 345,366 but its 1,136 recorded cases (2.38% of the total 47,735) is higher than Cebu Province. This translates to having 349 cases in every 100,000 persons.

The Mountain Province, located in the Cordillera Administrative Region in Luzon, has topped Baguio though at 349 cases per 100,000 persons. Their Covid-19 cases in the past 29 days since January 1 may be lower than Cebu Province’s at 540 but their total population of 154,590 is only 4.84% of Cebu’s 3.2 million population. This means that while Cebu has a bigger crowd to manage, it was able to control the spread of the virus stopping at 25. Whereas Mountain Province, having a way smaller crowd to control, has reached to 349 or 13 times Cebu’s number.

Why is OCTA looking at Cebu with “serious concern”? Kung tinambanon pa ni nato og istorya, asa man ka mabalaka? Sa duha ka pundok nimo nga mangga nga tagsa ka gatos mata'g pundok, ang usa ka pundok katunga na ang nadunot nga mangga unya ang ikaduhang pundok, duha pa lang ang dunot.

Reading further OCTA’s report, obviously Cebu City and Cebu Province has been lumped again as one single entity, as does most Manila people.

Why single out Cebu? So to disparage what it has already started in terms of economic gains? Or simply to discredit what this local government has done in handling and managing the disease?

Cebu’s share of the 47,735 pie is only 1.7 percent. There is Cagayan Province with 1,492 cases equivalent to 3.13%, or Rizal Province with 1,291 cases or 2.7%. There is also Cavite Province with 1,272 cases or 2.66% of the pie, Bulacan Province with 1,228 cases or 2.57% of the pie, Benguet Province with 873 cases or 1.83%, just to name a few.

So, again, why point at Cebu? Is it because the governor, the lone wolf in this crazy-number-conscious world of Covid, has publicly thrown punches against this obsession in numbers?

Time and again, Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia has shown that we should always be critical of the information that is laid to us especially as the Covid-19 pandemic continue to bring havoc to our daily lives.

But she also reminds everyone that the Province of Cebu is not belittling this Covid issue. Cebu just happens to have a different approach in fighting the pandemic – focus on prevention. Because, gasgas man paminawon ang linya, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” which google translates: it's easier to stop something from happening in the first place than to repair the damage after it has happened.

What Cebu Province has done in fact, since the start of the pandemic and up until now, is improve and strengthen its health facilities and boost the immune system of its people, especially the frontliners so that the whole system is prepared to parry any virus attack or any other kinds of sickness and diseases. Not to mention the use of technology that are proven to kill viruses and bacterias before they even spread such as ultraviolet light, air purifiers and disinfectants used in all government buildings, public offices and even hotels and resorts.

With all of these in place, the governor decided to slowly open Cebu's tourism sites, tourism industry and other economic activities, the small and medium businesses, to revive the devastated economy so the people can have their livelihoods back. People are no longer afraid to move, their lives – almost normal.

Is this why they have singled out Cebu? Kay nasuya sila?

As to the result of the OCTA study? Please, analyze and carefully consider other variables (like population and demographics) because if you don't, you are likely causing panic more than enlightenment. #