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Looking Forward

By Lillybeth Regius

In the middle of a global pandemic the people of Boracay Island now face further unprecedented agony. If it was not enough that the people have had to endure closures, typhoons and a global pandemic, they now suffer wanton destruction and evictions of families and friends from their homes.

They are the poor of this island and now many are left destitute and their homes destroyed with no hope and nowhere to go.

Their only solace may be in their belief in God, and in these hard times, if they cannot hold on to their beliefs, then all is lost.

This island has suffered and is the Malas coming back to haunt us again? There’s just over a week to go until Christmas and we are witnessing devastation and destruction. Families with small children being evicted from their homes. Their homes were demolished twenty days before Christmas and where will they go? What happened to the spirit of Christmas. Has the spirit of Christmas disappeared, remember the story of Ebenezer Scrooge? Well eventually he developed a consciousness and took pity and helped the poor.

The spirit of Christmas may haunt those responsible in times to come, it is called Karma. While it is often considered one of the most beautiful islands in the world, some of the locals of Boracay consider the island to be cursed because of recent events over the past two years. What has changed, and I will ask the question, have we lost the respect for traditions and the ways of our

Papa Lolo and Mama Lolo and now have Malas on this island?

Do we face increased job insecurity, the question answers itself when you look at the global economy. COVID-19 has undone decades of advancement. But could the pandemic be a catalyst for progress on this island?

The COVID-19 pandemic is far more than a health crisis: it is affecting societies and economies at their core.

The long arm of the COVID-19 outbreak, a virus that has not affected anyone on this island from a health or physical point of view, has continued to affect all segments of this small community. The effects of this virus are detrimental to members of those social groups in the most vulnerable situations. The financial burden continues to affect islanders. The financial heart of the island “tourism” has been decimated over the past two years like no other island in the Philippines, the island has suffered a compulsory closure 18 months ago; on Christmas day 2019 a typhoon that crippled the island for two months, a closure created by the weather and finally our latest destruction - a global virus that has this planet reeling from its effects on all walks of life.

Boracay requires an assessment on the future impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on societies, economies and vulnerable groups. That assessment is fundamental to the future development and prosperity of a once thriving community. This community need to be informed and a tailored response by the authorities governing this island with a structured plan to recover from the crisis and ensure that no one is left behind in this effort.

Without urgent socio-economic responses, suffering will escalate, jeopardizing lives and livelihoods for years to come. Immediate development responses in this crisis must be undertaken with an eye to the future. Development trajectories in the long-term will be affected by the choice’s authorities make now and the support they receive from government.

We can point out the trend of this virus and the negatives, the real question is what can you, us and I, do to help put our island back on track? One of the most valuable assets that this community has is its ability to overcome tragedy after tragedy. The ability to keep smiling though all this devastation is something to be admired.

Here is my suggestion for the future and it costs nothing to do, let’s call this the Friendly Island, the peaceful Island, the Island that makes strangers to our island more than welcome.

I alone cannot change society for the better. But I can radically transform my own consciousness, overturning the conditioning that limits my potential. We can all do this, you can do this, one by one. Eventually we can change ourselves to the degree that society and the island changes from the inside out. Giving birth to a new way of being. Manifesting our birthright to live in a peaceful and abundant world. Have no fear. Trust yourself. Live your full potential. The world and this island will be a better place.


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