As of writing this, we are five days into Extreme Community Quarantine (or, just as everybody else calls it, a lockdown). This is applied to the entire island of Luzon, signalling a Calamity status for the entire country. We have over 200 Covid-19 cases. Many PUIs, all unnamed, one who’s said to have ran off from the government. At least two doctors from yesterday’s news have already died. A lot more are in ICUs, fighting for their lives. Communities are locked, borders are barricaded, public transportation is halted, and there were many news of people walking for 10+ hours just to get home from one city to another.
If there’s anything that this pandemic exposed, it’s 1.) one’s proper hygiene and 2.) the great disparity between the poor and middle class.
People will say sacrifice is necessary. To be honest, everyone is sacrificing something during this ~Extreme Community Quarantine~. But it’s heartbreaking to see stories of the elderly stuck at the border with no means to get home. Of one senior citizen walking across six hours just to buy medicine. For a cancer patient to struggle to get through one town just to get to their chemotherapy session. For many of us, it’s plain comfort; we’re stuck at home, no work, no school, nothing to do but keep ourselves inside so we won’t contract the virus. But for them, the laborers of a construction who has to travel three provinces by foot just too get their wages? It’s a different thing.
The government did not think of the little guy when they made this decision. No thoughts for the taho vendors walking across the town, selling everyone’s favorite breakfast and earning his day’s work. No thoughts for the families who legitimately had no homes to stay indoors in. No thoughts for the laborers to whom they account public safety — the security guards, health staff, nurses, supermarket cashiers, pharmacists — after they cut off transport. Thankfully, there are LGUs who were able to catch these very important details (and kudos to them).
The long bout against Covid-19 swept the curtains off the things that needed attention: the poor. The public transportation. The way leaders would handle emergency situations that would require drastic changes in their community’s lives. The capability of our health facilities. And whom do we look after when the going gets tough.
Nobody looks after the little guy.
Surprisingly, it’s the little guy that looks after us. They’re the tricycle drivers offering free transportation for medical staff so they could reach their hospitals without walking under the sun. They’re the taho vendors offering free breakfasts to medical staff so that the doctors and nurses can power up before they take another dive into hours of looking after the patients. They’re the farmers selling their vegetables at the lowest rate, because if there’s anything that’s important now, it’s healthy food. I could probably think of more: the janitors obsessively cleaning handrails and floors and other surfaces the virus must have landed to keep you safe as you head out to the grocery, the random biker who’d leave food for the street squatters because even if they had little, little was still something they could give.
That gives us accountability, because we have more.
More is something that we could give. That we should. We have no right to be comfortable while the world around us burns (metaphorically). There is no Netflix and chilling, no all-day sleeping, no bahala-na-si-Batman while people are struggling to live even without being tainted by the virus. We are responsible for one another, so while you’re there, resting at your couch, here are ways you can help change lives:
- For P700, you can send a good-for-one-week food pack to a family, via PAGASA (People for Accountable Governance and Sustainable Action)
- Got only P20? Sure. Pitch in to the group of changemakers providing soaps and sanitizers to the homeless
- Love art? Commission the AMAZING artists on #ArtforMedPH and they’ll donate to the medical frontliners courageously waging this war against the virus