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A Strong Message: Filipinos Will Win the Fight Against COVID-19

We will survive this battle against COVID-19. If we follow government directives, we will. If we impose disciplines among ourselves, we will. If we think about the welfare of everyone, we will. In times like this, winning is about cooperation. Filipinos will fight. Filipinos will rise. Filipinos will win. Humanity will survive this serious battle.

A lady guard in a grocery store told me: “Sir, nakapamili na rin kayo sa wakas”. (Sir, you’ve finally bought what you need.)

And I responded: “Oo nga Mam, nakaraos din sa mahabang pila at paghihintay”. (Oh yes Mam, I finished it despite the long queue and waiting time.)

The situation outside is obviously not the usual. Buying your groceries, fish or meat, and even medicine takes a longer time than usual. You will have to queue, spend some time outside under the heat of the sun, and be extra-careful when handling food items, when entering doors, and when speaking with people. Social distancing is observed and wearing of face masks is no longer an option, but already a requirement in most open stores and shops.

People in the streets in a given time is few. Almost all is wearing a mask. Vehicles can be counted on a given time. Many stores are closed. Many are queuing up on pawnshops and remittance centers. Grocery stores only allow five to ten people to shop at a time.

From what I am seeing, Filipinos are generally cautious in dealing with the COVID-19 threat. While news on TV, radio and online about “pasaway” or “violators” of the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) rules cannot lie about the reality on the ground, on the other side of this, authorities are seriously doing what they can to contain the spread of the virus. And they have this one important request to us:

Please stay at home.

Moving forward, there are some aspects of the Filipino lives that may explain why we as a nation will win against this COVID-19 crisis.

Why Filipinos Will Survive the deadly COVID-19?
In a small nation like the Philippines, most people are skeptical about the future. You will often hear the words “Bahala na” (Come what may) and “May awa ang Diyos” (God have mercy) signifying that if the worst thing happens, it is what’s planned and they will have to deal with it in any way possible. Struck by countless natural calamities, man-made disasters, and economic-triggered hardships in life over the past decades, Filipinos never back down.

That so-called “bayanihan” during these tough times, is what makes us resilient. In fact, that familiar smile, which is known here as “umis”, “ngiti” or “tawa”, is a Filipino trait that symbolizes resilience, and that life goes on as long as we’re alive.

But can the “Bayanihan” spirit help the Philippines in this battle?
We are hopeful, yes.

I heard these two people speaking while I’m on the public market near my place.

One said,”Kumusta sa inyo, nakapamahagi na ba ng relief goods”? (How’s in your place, did they distribute the relief goods?)

The other one responded with a smile, “Oo, kaso e kulang na kulang sa aming lima sa bahay. Pero pagkakasyahin na e wala tayong magagawa kung yung lang ang kayang ibigay.” (Yes, but it is not good enough for the five of us at home. But we would make it work if that’s only what they can provide.)

This is the typical conversation almost anywhere in the country today, at the height of COVID-19 pandemic. It is sad to hear that people are getting hungry or there are shortages on their foods, particularly the poorest of the poor. But on the brighter side, the government finds ways to at least alleviate the hunger and hardships of the Filipinos.

In a way, isn't that a true display of the "Bayanihan" spirit?

In the middle of this COVID-19 pandemic, we Filipinos are on our feet. And that despite lockdowns and enhanced quarantines across the country, we Filipino people are fighting our struggles out and finding ways to survive.

I want to share my contribution, by at least giving some words of encouragement. So this is my strong message to everyone:

Too All Drivers and Conductors of Public Utility Vehicles
Konting tiis pa po. Babalik din ang lahat sa dati. Alagaan po natin ang ating mga sarili, maging ang ating mga sasakyan.

Jeepney, tricycle, bus, motorcycle and taxi drivers are among of the most hardworking Filipinos. Summer or rainy days, they hold the steering wheels and handles tightly to bring passengers to their destinations. I’ve been a commuter for so many years, from Metro Manila to my residence in Cavite and I also felt what these drivers felt. Without these drivers, me and millions of Filipinos cannot go to our work and back home. Drivers are the workers’ lifeline in terms of improving the economy. Thanks to your service dear drivers.

To All Construction Workers
Magpahinga po muna tayo ng konti, dahil sa mga darating na araw tayo’y muling mapapagod ng may ngiti para sa ating mga pamilya.

Construction workers which includes carpenters, plumbers, electricians, and laborers are the builders of our country. Day and night, they stretch out their muscles to build infrastructures like buildings, bridgers, houses and roads. For a while I became a construction worker, and it is not easy. It is literally sweat because of hard labor, sometimes tears because we were far from our families, and once in a while blood because of accidents in the workplace. Rest for now. Our jobs will be back soon. Thanks to your service.

To All Vendors, Baggers, Disers, Food Crews, Cooks and Delivery Personnel
Alam naming patuloy pa rin kayo sa paggising ng maaga para magtrabaho. Nawa’y lagi kayong malakas, malusog at masaya sa kabila ng pagod at pag-aalala para sa inyong kaligtasan.

Because of them, we have foods on our tables. They are also frontliners in a sense, considering their exposure to a greater number of people as part of their daily job. Be it on a public market as fish vendor or rice retailer, inside supermarkets as cashier or promodiser, or food chains as waiter or cooks, your service to the people deserves commendation. Thanks to your sacrifices.

To All Public Servants, Volunteers and Uniformed Personnel
Nakakataba po ng puso ang makita kayong masiglang nagsisilbi sa bayan. Ito po’y aming tatanawing isang malaking utang na loob.

Your actions today will surely be rewarded in the near future. From Barangay Captains down to their councilors, tanod or police, health workers, and staffs, without your “malasakit” and “serbisyo sa bayan”, we may end up sick, hungry and at risk. We understand you follow orders from above, and you are just doing your jobs. There will be times when you can hurt someone, or be hurt by someone in the performance of your duty to the country. In spite of that, we believe in your dedication in helping the public avoid getting the deadly disease. Police officers, soldiers, firemen, rescue volunteers, and barangay police, you play a big role in making the Filipinos safe from the threat of COVID-19. Keep up the good work Sir and Mam. Thanks a lot to your sacrifices for our nation.

To All Doctors, Nurses, Health Workers, Medical Practitioners, and Hospital/Clinic Janitors and Crews
Hindi po sasapat ang aming pasasalamat at pagsaludo sa inyong kabayanihan. Sa matinding hamon na inyong kinakaharap, na maari pang mahantong sa pagbubuwis ng inyong buhay, kayo po’y aming pararangalan sa takdang panahon. Mabuhay po kayo. Gabayan po kayo ng ating Panginoong Diyos.

Maybe like you, I’ve been hospitalized quite a few times in my life. Doctors are there to provide the cure. Nurses are there to speed up the healing process. Workers in hospitals including janitors, maintenance crews, and guards make us feel comfortable and secured. They are the only experts on what they’re doing and during these times, we should put our 100% trust on them. Please continue to defend us from the COVID-19. Tell us what to do and we will listen. Please be strong and take care of yourselves more. We believe in you. We pray for your safety.

To All Leaders of the Philippine Nation and of the World
Kayo po ang aming inaasahan para sa aming kaligtasan, kapayapaan ng isip, at kakayanang magpatuloy sa buhay. Wag po ninyo kaming pababayaan. Amin pong dasal na kayo’y palaging malusog at ligtas. Salamat po sa inyo.

Despite the lack of resources, knowledge and capability in our healthcare system when compared with rich countries like of the US, UK, South Korea and Singapore, our situation today is still far from worst. I am neither an expert nor a wise leader to say that, but from what I can see, we are still in control of the COVID-19 situation here in the Philippines. The leadership shown by our President, cabinet members, members of the Department of Health, owners of private businesses, and leaders of Local Government Units (LGUs) is playing a huge role in containing the spread of COVID-19. The number of cases keeps on growing, but underneath that figure is the reality that measures are being implemented across the whole nation. That will surely have a positive and acceptable impact on the safety of the Filipino people and of the entire humanity, when the time of accounting comes. Our support and cooperation is with you. We pray that all of you will be healthy during the entire course of this nightmare.

To All Filipinos and People of the World
Maging maingat po tayo ng husto. Sumunod po tayo sa kautusan. May mga kaakibat pong hirap, takot at lungkot ang laban na ito. Magdamayan at magtulungan po tayo para sa ating kaligtasan. Huwag po tayong susuko, ni mawawalan ng pagasa.

This battle will end with us the humans winning against the deadly virus. Lives were lost and might still take a few more. There are signs that this disease could end, though we are not sure when. This is a big lesson, partly because of the abuse done by humanity against nature and wildlifes. But let us not panic. Let us listen to our leaders, to the health experts, and more importantly, let us ask the guidance of the Almighty.

About Project Pilipinas
Since 2011, Project Pilipinas has been posting blog articles that tackles lives, culture and stories of the Filipino people. The agenda is to reveal the realities of life here in the country, discuss issues and challenges faced by millions of Filipinos, and offer solutions to them. In doing this, it is the objective of the blog site to improve the lives of every Filipino through giving encouragement, awareness, and recommendations. Underneath those visions is also that motivation to share to the world the beauty of this country.


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