By Al O. Orolfo, Ph.D.
I asked several friends how they do their part in giving help to others while they are ensuring themselves to be safe and well also during this COVID-19 Pandemic. News coming from various outlets, filtered or not comes on our way and it creates confusion and fear. Having this kind of daily feeds on your communication gadgets surely makes you wary and it challenges your rational thinking over this deluge of information about the pandemic. What’s more challenging is how can you also give attention to the needs of others and how can you calmly and safely respond to their calls for help. Some of my friends showed how; and here are their replies to the common question.
“I strictly followed the home quarantine guidelines given to me since March 5, 2020. In this way I can help everyone in our household and community keep safe from the threats of COVID-19. That’s the way since I was exposed to a suspected carrier” – Ma. Czarina L. Platino of Law Enforcement Agency in Bohol.
“I share notes to friends to think positive and be not scared. I also share tips on lifestyle changes like food choices, more sleep, and exercises. I am living in the province so we have lots of herbal medicines, like ginger tea with honey which can be good for sore throat. So, I shared to them some herbal concoctions. Not going out as well if not necessary is one way to keep your household members safe from the virus exposure. – Ms Salvacion O. Madridano, Retired Government Employee
“Jakarta has the most COVID -19 cases in our country, Indonesia, and the government declared emergency status from Feb. 29 to May 29, 2020 but not in a lockdown mode. As a citizen of the country, I will follow orders how to help block the spread of the virus outbreak and to remain calm. Going into panic mode will not help others but can aggravate the situation rather, so we will make ourselves in the family fully informed and remain in touch with the health authorities” – Eldino Hasman, Car Distributor, Jakarta, Indonesia
“In this difficult time, the best that I can do as a citizen is to cooperate with the authorities in observing the community quarantine. I will be postponing my weekly trip going home so I can avoid any contact. My home province is outside the area where I work. When the borders were announced to be closed, I read all information and readily travelled to avoid being stranded. Since I don’t work as a frontline officer, the best that I can do is to diligently show up for work and keep on contributing to keep the country running. I also share validated news on social media for others. By curating the pages that I share, I am able to send them updates from reliable sources and stop spreading panic from fake news.” – Cyndy Sol Rodrigo, Diver and Marine Biologist
“As a distributor of wellness products, I continuously share the benefits that we have experienced by taking our major health products and food supplements which give us a strong defense against COVID-19. We are highly confident that when our family continuously take our products together, there is synergistic effect towards a better daily life. Sharing the mission of helping more people live better everyday can also improve our financial status and personality. We just must love ourselves, our family, and everyone. In this pandemic time, always exclaim: To God be the highest and glory.’ – Exe. Dir. Marycil A. Dating, Lifestyles Asia Pacific
“We continue our online classes even when we are all under quarantine period. This is one way to keep our students busy while staying at their respective homes, wherever they are now in any parts of the globe. This will help them be focused and stay calm from the barrage of negatives news about the global pandemic. When this is over, at least they still finished their courses on time”. – Prof. Juvy Lizzette Gervacio, UP Open University
“During this COVID-19 outbreak, I do news update, dissemination of credible news to families and friends through social media platforms, laying low, praying, staying home and at the office for the required number of hours, spending quality time with love ones, avoiding too much contact with other people and practicing social distancing are my daily routine in my fight against the pandemic COVID-19.
Obeying the law, the government and the church are additional to my advocacy in contributing help to others taking the lead despite some inconvenience. The pleasure of addressing this issue gives us not only hope but sense of purpose, contentment and contemplation.”- Ms Bebce Orense Gentilezo, HR Practitioner and Former HR Focal Person of DENR-NIR
“I’m making sure that my team and colleagues are able to work remotely from home instead of coming into the office. Also making sure to hand out for free any supplies to friends or family that need it. Masks, hand sanitizers, and basic toiletries. Also comforting and reassuring each other that we can slow down and beat this virus” – Jay Rafols Perez, Reef Wanderer and Global IT Consultant
“I am doing the home quarantine monitoring in my area of responsibility in our barangay for those who arrived and went home from infected areas. I make sure that they stay at home during the 14-days self- quarantine period.” - Bgy Kagawad Ling Manocan Calixtro, Bgy Larena, Nabas, Aklan
Indeed, there are many ways we can still extend help to others while we are all under this movement control policy and ensuring personal health and safety as well. While on the island of Boracay, there simple ways we add to what they mentioned and can do also to help others alleviate their situation under the dark clouds of pandemic:
Never share in social media unverified information about the health of your neighbors or household members. The LGU Malay COVID-19 Task Force have Hotlines you can call to inquire or ask assistance on any health problems you may have or among the persons around.
Plan your movements outdoors. Minimize your time spent outside the house since the whole municipality of Malay and Boracay Island are under Community Quarantine. When asking about the Ports and schedules of boats, contact directly the Port Administrator or Philippine Coast Guard (036-2887631) for reliable information on the schedules. The Caticlan Boracay Transport Multi-Purpose Cooperative (CBTMPC) Boat Operator can be reached at (036) 288-7101/7235. In short, keep all the emergency hotlines in your phone aside from those transportation hotlines.
While stuck at home, make wellness your priority to boost your immune system and your household members as well. Ensure to buy only food items which will provide good nourishments and will last for awhile if you cannot buy groceries frequently. Do away with sweet and junk foods, it will not help increase your immunity. Ensure a full supply of both macro and micro-nutrients needed to maintain a healthy body. Again, never hoard, you are not helping your community by doing that.
Speaking of wellness, being physically fit is also a must. Do some home exercises which you can immediately access from so many social media apps. Share these sites to your friends, or do some live or online community exercises like Zumba it will surely be fun, sweaty and healthy for everyone. if you have the desire, motivation and talent, try to learn and record new Tiktok Dances or videos that can go viral. You may be the next big Influencer that everyone is waiting for.
Initiate online fundraising or donations. A local actress just did that and raised P3million to help vendors affected by the community quarantine. I know other groups are doing that and some specify their target recipients – no other than our overworked and lowly paid frontline health workers. But take note that if donations will come from abroad, it needs to have some clearance from the Bureau of Customs. You may contact the agency through 09672256871/09178322954 or check the customs.gov.ph website for foreign donation procedure details.
At this calamitous moment, do not push your sense of entitlement. “Palakasan” system should never be tolerated. On whom should be tested first, we already have People Under investigation (PUI) and People Under Monitoring (PUM) who are first line. Now we are seeing VIPs being tested first. Let’s be vigilant on these actions because, those underprivileged for sure will be the last ones again once this old and ugly system takes the centerstage.
Of course, above all, we need to pray for everyone. We’ve been used to so many instant push buttons, downloads, streaming, 4G/5G Wi-Fi speeds, and yet we are still impatient to wait to get the material things we want. But now we face something that we do not know when it will end. Prayers can help us learn again the virtues of patience, humility and reinvigorate our strong faith in the Almighty. Let us pray that we will survive together this pandemic. Everyone has their duty to share the human responsibility and help save humanity from this modern-day plague.