"It’s our most powerful weapon."
I begin this column by saluting our frontliners—all medical and hospital workers, security and border control officers, LGU workers from the officials to the tanods and barangay health workers, utilities personnel, workers in the food, medicine and other essential items sectors including those involved in logistics support, transport and related workers and all others who are involved in the day-to-day nationwide effort to contain the transmission of the deadly COVID-19 virus. Their sacrifices will forever be remembered.
Let me also salute all those who have heeded the call to actively practice the protocols called for under the enhanced community quarantine ordered by government. By being an active and disciplined citizen and ensuring that you will not only be a possible patient but a carrier as well, you have joined the ranks of those who have elevated your goodness beyond yourself. That is truly praiseworthy. As we have always been saying, we are in this together, this is our world, not just ourselves, that we are saving. Mabuhay!
Having said that, it is worth noting that in the midst of fear and panic all over the place, hope and good news abound. This pandemic is bringing out the best in each of us. Goodness abounds, indeed. Despite the missteps and false news including unwarranted efforts by some quarters to denigrate the initiatives taken thus far to contain the COVID-19 outbreak, positive vibes have begun to take root.
We have noticed as the days passed by that the public has come to accept stay-at-home enhanced community quarantine as the clearest means to contain the spread of this invisible foe. This, even as some recalcitrants are still trying to break out of this community effort that has been slowing down by the day as people get to appreciate what is being asked of them.
Government is getting into the groove by taking all the necessary actions to ensure that nobody will be left behind. We are getting there as we prepare for the worst and people are properly and responsibly informed what lies ahead. It mattered that early on President Duterte vowed to ensure that the public's basic needs will be addressed properly. This includes jobs and livelihood of our people, specially those daily wage earners, small business people and those in the informal sector. We are talking here of millions of people and families who are on the verge of starvation on a daily basis. We are certain government will not let them starve. Not only government but a lot of people and companies have actually come around to share their time and resources in making sure that indeed nobody will be left behind.
You have heard of course of the initiatives taken by a host of business people. You have heard San Miguel's Ramon Ang say that the company's food and beverage group has enough food and related materials to last the entire population for the next six months. He has revved up his entire production group to ensure that its food and beverage products will reach and every family as and when needed. You have been seeing on TV all the Big Business groups almost trying to outdo each other in terms of actual giving: from the SM Group opening up all its service groups: banks, real estate, supermarts and the like for this national effort; to the Lucio Tan (LT) group; to the Ayala Group to the Jollibee group to Andrew Tan's Alliance which includes McDonalds; to the Rustan Group to the Robinson's Group and so on. Of course, the owners of the big radio and TV stations have made their facilities available on a 24/7 basis to public hungry for developments in the Philippines and the world. Yes, Big Business is doing its part despite the hammering of their stocks as publicly listed corporations.
Even more heartwarming are those being done by other lesser known business groups and even ordinary folks who have come forward with whatever they can afford to lend a helping hand. One such group is the ALC Group founded by the late Ambassador Antonio " Tony" Cabangon Chua. The group is now being managed by his son, D. Edgard Cabangon Chua who, without any kind of fanfare, lent several of its hotels to medical frontliners in the thick of the fight against the Covid-19 epidemic. In Pasay City, the group made the Dahlia Motel available, in Manila CityState Palanca and Vista Hotel as well as the CityState Tower Hotel for PGH health workers and the Dahlia Hotel in Pasig City. Aside from these gestures, the group has also decided to continue airing much-needed news, opinions and music over the entire DWIZ and Home Radio stations nationwide.
Then, there are the hundreds maybe thousands of acts of kindness done all over the country by individuals, businesses and organizations who have come forward to extend a helping hand. There was the bakery owner in a small town in Albay who had to petition officials to let his bakery open for the poor who barely had centavos to spare for a piece of pandesal serving as their daily bread. Then, there are the vegetable growers in Nueva Ecija and Benguet who donated part of their harvest to various LGUs and organizations to be distributed free to the poorest of the poor in their communities. Then, there is this water refiller station in Paranaque which decided to donate its full day's production to the families of the tricycle drivers in the barangay. These and other instances of kindness yet to be recorded only serves to remind us all that despite the gloom enveloping the light of kindness, the spirit of goodness in every one of us prevails. This is the spirit which will conquer our fears and carry us through these truly hard times. Man's goodness and the unwavering belief in God's mercy and compassion are our most important weapons as we move on and conquer the unknown.