Sometime in April this year, while my wife and I are doing our typical gardening activities, I saw this bee flying around. All of a sudden, the bee stumbles down the ground. At first, I thought it got hit into a branch or wire. When I looked after the bee’s condition, if it’s okay, I realized it is somewhat dizzy and unable to open its wings again. So I picked it up carefully using a shovel and put it in one of our hanging pots where it can rest and eventually recover.
Then after about two or three days, while painting our garden walls, here is a giant spider right in front me. For several minutes, it is not moving at all as if it's dry dead. Even if my paint brush gets closer and closer, no sign of movement. I inspected if its okay or if its eating something reason why it doesn’t move. Surprisingly, after about four minutes, it finally changes its place. Great for it’s alive and well!
What about these insects?
Well, for me, such encounters are just ordinary things happening around us, everyday. For some reasons, we observe things differently or pretty much not the usual way. It happens to anyone. Some of us even connect beliefs or philosophies to those kinds of encounters.
In this post, I would want to establish the resemblance of that encounter with the insects to the current situation of the country and the rest of the world. Please go on reading this post.
What’s Wrong with 2020?
For instance, this year, most of the veggies we’ve planted don't make it to our dining table. Years back, we’ve been harvesting kilos after kilos of vegetables just from our backyard (You can read my post “I am Planting for the Economy”). Sadly, vegetables this year get destroyed by tiny pests or insects within just a week or two after they sprouted from soil. I should have tried spraying insecticides but I intend not to because I chose to be organic as much as possible.
This year also, by coincidence, we Filipinos are being hit by the worst effects of the global COVID-19 pandemic. Losing our jobs, sources of income, our savings, even the lives of many; these are what hit many of us this 2020. And the adversities keep on hitting.
In a sense, there are really things we cannot foresee, plan, control or manage. As human beings, they are beyond our knowledge and comprehension. But is there still something we can do about it?
What’s going on? What is being done? When would this last? Is there a cure or vaccine for all of these hardships and pains to end? When will it be available? Will we ever survive this pandemic?
Like many of you, I am looking for concrete answers too.
The Real Picture
After about five months, the COVID-19 cases in the Philippines rose from 1 to 100,000; and counting. We have the updates or news from everywhere around the globe that it is worsening. We know what’s really happening now. The virus is spreading fast and it is bringing us down.
In search for answers, and asked this to myself:
Given the chance, how do I want to solve this biggest issue of our generation?
This is a question to myself; but could be the same question you have in mind too. Allow me to share what I have in mind.
Moral of the Story
Going back to the bee and spider encounters, the bee unfortunately died after about four hours since I picked it up that same day. I tried saving its life by picking it up, thinking a rest in a somewhat safer place will do something good. It has its life extended for four hours for I did something - I picked it up. The spider is alive and just changes places as I am doing the wall painting activity. I did not hurt the spider knowing it is somewhat delaying my painting activity. Instead, I just gave it time to move away and it did.
My solution to the worsening effects of the COVID-19 pandemic is typically similar to how I responded to those encounters with the insects. Here’s my realization:
I have to do something to solve the pandemic crisis. I think I can act in two ways: 1) Pick up a solution or do an act, or 2) Not hurt the emotions of the frontliners, law enforcers and government officers, instead, listen to their advice and directives. Either options will have a significant impact.
Small and Big We Can Do
We should not just sit down and watch the day to day crisis as it happens in our country.. For the second optio, for instance, these are the small acts we can do:
Follow the mandate of wearing facemask, observing social distancing, washing our hands, and cleaning the products or items we are buying.
Avoid going outside for non-essential things or activities but rather stay at home.
Be fair and considerate of our actions towards others in social media and in our community on issues related to the health and safety of everyone.
For the first option, this is not an obligation but out of our free will, we can make a move. For instance, we can:
Volunteer in our respective barangays during food relief packaging or as a contact-tracer.
With proper coordination with LGUs, provide assistance to those in need in cash or in kind.
Directly offer help to someone or families in great need.
But are these the only available solutions? Let's dive to the bigger issues in the society.
The Bigger Issues
Economy or health? Undeniably, we will be affected on whichever our government will stand between the two. If we are not allowed to go outside and work, eventually, we will lose our income and end up having nothing to eat. If we are then allowed to work, the reality of which we will have to blend with the crowd going to work, while at work and back home, our risk of getting the disease is higher and this is what’s exactly happening right now. It is a tough decision for there is a trade-off between the available options.
Here is the underlying issue here:
According to experts, the number of cases keeps on rising because many of us are outside our homes doing our thing. Transmission form person to person happens on crowded areas, events, gatherings, workplaces, and inside transport vehicles.
If I am to solve or decide on that, I would not just select one of the choices. What I will do is analyse, strategize and execute the option or options that will side with the main objective of reducing the increase in the number of COVID-19 cases. I’d prefer going with both options with extra caution.
Yes, if you look at it a positive way, the government is making sensible decisions. However, it’s poor execution. My stand is this:
GCQ, MECQ or ECQ, if it is implemented right, it will balance the trade-offs between health and economy. Simply state, it will work reducing the cases.
Selective lockdowns is something I agree on. Strict observance on allowing only Authorized Persons Outside Residence (APOR) is another thing I support. Implementing schedules based on surname or place of residency when entering malls, supermarkets and local public markets will also help a lot and I agree with that policy too. Prohibiting drinking or get-together sessions is something I highly support. On the issue of putting a standard plastic barrier between motorcycle driver and “angkas” or rider, not a bad idea for me. However, the implementation should be gradual in consideration of the safety of the riders.
Where I do not agree?
People rallying or protesting during this time of pandemic is something I strongly disagree with. Social or religious gathering is something that needs to be prohibited or regulated for this is where the spread of disease happens. Local officials including barangay health workers, police officers and LGU workers getting together as a big group when conducting community services or programs, be it related to the pandemic response or not, is something that must stop immediately. Conducting those activities or programs with a limited number of persons or officers will do a lot in terms of avoiding the virus spread among officers themselves and people they are helping with.
In the case of Locally Stranded Individuals (LSI), obviously, the overcrowding situation on designated temporary staging areas is a high-risk situation. This is a no-no for me. It’s about time to solve this by implementing strict observance of social distancing. LGUs, authorities and transportation management should do something so that ports and terminals will not be fully occupied. Individuals who intend to travel back to provinces must be properly scheduled before they are allowed to leave their homes. It requires more coordination from the involved parties.
We are all new to this kind of response and we have different opinions on everything. But we always have to understand that main objective: reduce the increase in the number of COVID-19 cases while waiting for the real cure to come.
Small Solutions with Bigger Impact
Discipline Among Ourselves
Social distancing, personal protection, and cleanliness are our key weapons in fighting COVID-19. If we do not do or observe these at all times, even for a second, we are prone to getting the virus, and eventually put our lives to danger. Be disciplined at all times.
Do not be afraid of the military checking on you on checkpoints. Do not be afraid of being stopped for a Quarantine Pass check and body temperature monitoring. Do not be afraid to be advised to just stay at home. Just please comply with the protocols on roads, establishments and offices.
To the issue of hunger as a result of the pandemic. I can see that the government together with private sectors are doing something about this. Through the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) or the “ayuda”, we are being helped with in our worries about hunger. I trust that our government will not just let us die out of hunger. I could not see that the government is heading towards that direction.
Losing Jobs, Sources of Income
To the jeepney, bus, tricycle, taxi and pedicab drivers, I am with you in your battle against permanent loss of your source of income. I am not in your shoes to really know how it feels to hold a signage asking for assistance instead of the driving wheels. It is painful and no words could be enough to comfort you in these darkest chapters of your lives. No one should say stop to what you’re doing, because if survival is at stake, I will also do exactly the same thing - “mamalimos ako kung kinakailangan”.
And if this is going to be the case for many of our “kababayan”, the street vendors, dispatchers or barkers, “takatak” boys on buses, sidewalk sellers, I believe our government is not that deaf and blind not to see our situations. They will act before it’s too late and that is the solution I can only think of that will alleviate our hunger, frustration and helplessness. Let us be patient and have at least a small trust with our government.
Adjustments on Our Habits
We also need to help ourselves by doing some adjustments on our menus and recipes. We need to set aside our wants for delicious or expensive foods. I have experienced eating “tuyo”, “toyo”, “talbos”, “asin” and “asukal” not just for a day, but several days and I understand how it feels. I do feel and understand where every poor family is coming from. “Mahirap” and “nakakasawa” but we need to live with it as our sacrificial contribution to stopping this plague from ruining our nation and the world today.
“Konting tiis at pangunawa pa po mga kababayan.”
Give Back if You Can
For those who have more than enough, I encourage you to share. Please give back to the helpless, to the needy ones. Ten or twenty pesos will save them a meal. Bread and water will solve a moment of hunger. Please share whatever you can. This is the simplest yet has a big-impact action we can do to our countrymen.
Be Not an Expert if You’re Not
Professionals in the field of medicine have the best solution for all of this. Health experts, doctors, medical researchers, medical technologists - hear their words. While there could be contradicting facts or statements, leave it to them to analyze and decide on. Even these experts are baffled with this deadly virus. Let’s give them the time to figure it out.
Please do not become a disruption to them. Do not inject political biases or anything that adds insult to the field of medicine. The cure, the vaccine will come from them, and not from anybody else. Kindly let them do their jobs for us.
All the other agencies are next in line to act. In times like this, it is not from the president, not from a mayor, not from a governor, not from an economist, but the real cure would come from the health experts. And we citizens must follow.
That’s the way I want to solve it. How about you?
The Story is Yet to End
Like the bee, we will come into a point when we will meet our final destiny. But if four hours to live can become four months, four years, or four decades more, by acting and doing our part, why not? And if by giving the spider a chance to change places by not harming it, we can do the same to the responders of COVID-19 pandemic disruptions. The spider is the frontliners and the painter is us the people. Let’s not hurt each other, but give everybody a chance to live and do their part in this society.
It is still not too late, even if the number of cases becomes doubled or tripled in the coming weeks or months. Why am I saying that? Because we are acting, “may ginagawa tayo”. We are not just sitting, “nagiisip at kumikilos tayo”. We can solve this in time, “hindi tayo tumitigil”. The vaccine will come. Everything will be back to normal - only if we become part of the solution.
Thank you for listening. Salamat po.
About this Blog
The objective is to create awareness of what's really going on in the Philippine nation today. The intention is not to criticize but to encourage everyone from top to bottom to do their part in solving the problems, issues and challenges we're facing. Each one of us has a role to play in this fight against COVID-19. The fight is just starting and we need to become united as one to win this fight. ProjectPilipinas is here to bring encouragement.
Let's help our government. Let's help our frontliners. Let's do our part.