MANILA -- Veteran actor Leo Martinez has made an appeal for clearer travel guidelines on behalf of senior citizens who have been locked down for more than one year in their home environment.
In a now viral post which started on his Facebook, Martinez expressed the frustration of elders like him who have missed the outside world. One of the founders of Repertory Philippines in the 1960s, Martinez turned 76 last March.
“Gusto lang naming makalabas para makita ulit, maamoy, marinig, malasap at masalat ang dating kinagawian at nakasanayan na," he said plaintively. “'Yun la-ang, maawa naman kayo. Bakit ba kami pang kakaunti na ang panahon dito ang pinagbabawalang makumusta ulit ang ating mundo?
His post was also in support of senior citizens rights advocate Atty. Romy Macalintal who has urged the government to ease strict protocols on vaccinated senior citizens.
In its latest directive, the Inter Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases has already allowed the movement of fully vaccinated senior citizens in areas under General Community Quarantine and Modified General Community Quarantine, subject to the presentation of a duly issued COVID-19 vaccination card. However, per rules, no interzonal travel is allowed other than point-to-point travel under the IATF Resolution No. 118-A.
"Paano 'yan for other seniors who want to go back and settle in the province, tulad ng kasambahay ko na taga-Catanduanes," Martinez told ABS-CBN News, citing the gaps in direct point to point travel from Manila to an island province.
Other seniors note that their freedom to travel is still factored on restrictions. In a press advisory Wednesday, the Department of Tourism (DOT) stated that travel shall be allowed for all ages, subject to RT-PCR testing before travel for those below 18 and above 65 and other restrictions imposed by the DOT and the local government unit of the destination.
Since the latest IATF directive, Martinez has gone to a mall in Quezon City after presenting his full vaccine card. But much more needs to be done to free the seniors, he said.
As he quipped in his post, “Aba’y mahigit isang taon na po kaming nakakulong, hindi po naman natural ‘yun – bata man o matanda.
Hindi naman kami magpapakalat-kalat d’yan sa kalye, hindi naman kami makikipag-inuman kung saan-saang kanto at hindi naman kami pagkakaguluhan ng mga babae. Matanda na nga eh!”