Red Cross COVID camp brings hope to Maasin


Maasin City—The Red Cross 143 COVID-19 Skills Camp in Danao Forest Park, some 15 kilometers away from this city in Southern Leyte, has changed lives for returning locally stranded individuals (LSIs) and overseas Filipino workers from big cities reeling from the coronavirus.

Red Cross COVID camp brings hope to Maasin
TOGETHER AGAIN. A camp resident reunites with his family after 14 days of quarantine at the Red Cross campsite. Dahlia Orit/Red Cross Maasin
According to Red Cross provincial administrator Jonas Maco, they are blessed with the support of Maasin Mayor Nacional Mercado, the church, partner government agencies like Bureau of Fire Protection through its chief Raul Inocando, Philippine National Police, and various donors.

 “What makes this quarantine facility unique, aside from the camp setting, is that during the 14-day quarantine, the dwellers will undergo various skills training,” Maco told Manila Standard.

“This is in compliance with the Department of Health protocols to let them stay safe in a quarantine facility, for the locally stranded individuals not to be bored, enjoying while staying safe and so with their family, and to be physically active within the 14-day quarantine period,” he added.

While the returning locals stayed at camping grounds, they also attended a daily mass and a spiritual retreat officiated by Msgr. Cadayona.

“A city not as resource-rich as other big cities, the COVID-19 crisis has greatly impacted and is pushing Maasin City to the limit. Being the smallest city in Eastern Visayas with very limited human and logistical resources, the City of Maasin’s local funds are also dwindling fast. We have creatively managed our limited resources to respond to the needs of our constituents,” said Mercado.

During their 14-day stay, camp residents learned free lessons on volunteer management orientation course, psycho-social support program, hygiene promotion, proper handwashing and COVID-19 prevention, forest tree planting, and emergency first aid training.

Also, they were taught about basic life support training through cardiopulmonary resuscitation, fire safety, substance abuse prevention education program, gardening, food security, and new normal orientation.

As spiritual and skills development programs abounded at the camping site, the 29 returning locals found their 14-day stay “memorable.”

Maria Mavel Malbas, 24-year-old call center worker from Cebu, said she is thankful to the organizers who welcomed them despite the health risk.

“I will remember this in my entire life. Never imagined how a quarantine life could have a twist,” wrote Malbas, adding that she learned so many things during her stay.

Red Cross COVID camp brings hope to Maasin
TOGETHER AGAIN. Graduates stand for a souvenir photo on their last days there. Dahlia Orit/Red Cross Maasin
“Cheers to all the frontliners who never hesitated to help and assist us every day. For the support and for the love and care you have shared to us,” Malbas said.

Maasin, with over 85,000 population, has recorded two confirmed cases of coronavirus as of June 28.

Topics: Red Cross 143 COVID-19 Skills Camp , locally stranded individuals , Southern Leyte
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