Exploring what we can do while on ECQ
Whenever I’m asked what I will be doing after the quarantine, who I will be meeting and catching-up with, where my first destination will be when I get outside of the comforts of my own home, it makes me pause for a moment.
I compose myself and try not to burst with overwhelming words brought by my sentiments about the pandemic, COVID-19.
I’ll try not to think about the frontliners who are risking their lives everyday to combat COVID-19. I’ll try not to think about the empty stomachs that have no choice but to wait until someone knocks on their doors and offers them something to eat.
I’ll try not to think about the breadwinners whose income is dependent on their jobs and how they are trying to fit their budget for their families while this Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) order is still on the line.
However, trying not to think about the above-mentioned situations, makes me feel uncomfortable, knowing that those things are facts and are part of reality.
We all have different coping mechanisms as we are confronted by this pandemic. We also have different contexts and circumstances.
Arriving from Dumaguete City to my hometown here in Sindangan, Zamboanga del Norte, I underwent a 14-day self-quarantine right away.
Most of my time during self-quarantine was spent being frustrated with the government; not to mention the lack of initiatives, sense of urgency, and even basic obedience to protocols that I wouldn’t want to expand more.
Our Local Government Unit (LGU), for all apparent reasons, needed to snap out of it and wake up to see how real and alarming the situation is. I can just go along and continue to let out all my frustrations and just complain but that wouldn’t even shake them.
Stemming what I can do with the sudden abundance of time, I gathered some Sindanganons that I saw on my news feed that have shared the same sentiments with me. We talked about it and came up with an idea of realizing steps and actions in relation to the struggles of our fellow Sindanganons that are in need of urgent help. Thus, Project Lihok was formed.
Our first run got us overwhelmed by the support that we received from our fellow Sindanganons. Donations were arriving every now and then from all over the world which bred to loads of goods and basic necessities.
Afterwards, we started the operations. One of the recipients of our fellowmen’s generosity were the frontliners from Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (MDRRMO), Rural Health Unit (RHU), private and public hospitals, Philippine National Police (PNP), and barangays.
These people helped in securing the exit points of our municipality and some of them were assigned to the farthest exit points like Brgy. Nato, which requires high performing vehicles that can bear the rough and rocky roads to get there.
It has become a challenge for the people who want to donate and deliver goods to this barangay and other barangays alike. Unfortunately, some donors would choose not to include highly remote places in their donation drive which gave us the idea of including those who are unlikely to be given assistance in our scope of beneficiaries.
The heart-warming appreciation from the people of these little efforts that we were doing kept us motivated to continue this initiative. This even makes me recall the frequently asked questions during my self-quarantine—basically asking what will I do after the lockdown or ECQ—and the answers to these wouldn’t matter for as long as there are people struggling because of this pandemic.
Until then, let’s continue to widen our horizons and reach out to those who want to help and dare to help those who are in need.
Dasig lang ta! (By Shem Japheth Barinaga for Kapit-Mindanao)
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