Today, in particular, was a tiring and yet fulfilling day. I write this into the fifth day of Enhanced Community Quarantine. Work from home has been implemented and for some of us, this has allowed us to communicate via social media applications with clients, meet and brainstorm with the team virtually, and simultaneously edit live documents in our own living rooms. I wish everyone had the same privilege. But that is another story.
Admittedly, this regional shutdown has affected our lives in ways we never could have imagined. It has also ferreted out the best and worst in us with social media amplifying these stories. Real news versus fake news; acts of gallantry and stupidity; the kindness of strangers and of some unscrupulous merchants overpricing their goods. Take the news that circulated in chat groups about social unrest and looting stories taking place in the different parts of Metro Manila; news that immobilize you because you panic and get scared. It saddens me that some people could even think of adding to the uncertainties of these times by causing paranoia by way of fake news.
But when you feel that humanity is failing you, suddenly you come across stories that will make you believe everything is not lost. Take the Twitter signal boost of Mots Venturina (@motsiemots) who appealed on behalf of two young cancer patients who live in Antipolo and needed to be brought to Quezon City for their scheduled chemotherapy sessions. Without a public transport around, she needed to find someone willing to take the patients to the hospital and quick; so she turned online for help. Several people took up the offer and volunteered to drive; others pitched to take care of the drivers’ gas and snacks for the kids, and many offered their prayers. The overwhelming swift response of the netizens was just too heartwarming!
Or this group in FB, MassageMNL, created by Janina Kh, who provides riders for people who may be in need of personal errand services such as buying medicines or food but have no means of getting out of the house. Janina put together this group of riders who are the husbands or siblings of her displaced therapists and disclosed that she does not earn commission out of this arrangement.
Then also, when the hard-working Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto was not allowed to let tricycles ply the city roads to bring health workers to the hospitals, a private company, Global Electronic Transport (GET), jumped in and saved the day for the thousands of health workers by offering electronic vans that will shuttle our local heroes to and from their places of work for free.
“Not all heroes wear capes,” is a saying I often see on my newsfeed nowadays. When the Lung Center, which has been designated by the Government as one of the exclusive hospitals for COVID-19 patients, appealed for donations in anticipation for the challenging days ahead, I knew I wanted to help in whatever way I can. I reached out to friends and work contacts who, I knew, would have the wherewithal to extend assistance to those in need. Each acted with urgency as if their own lives depended on it. And this is what we need to exhort during these trying times. Not fear but faith, not panic but positive action.
So please allow me to thank the following who responded to my appeal without hesitation: Matteo Guidicelli for the 70 beds which the medical staff on multi-day shifts can use for their rest; Fred Reyes of SkinStation who produced 100 liters of liquid soap to maintain quality sanitation in the hospital, and to Noel Lorenzana, my former boss at TV5, who, without hesitation, asked his former colleagues at Unilever to donate personal hygiene kits for our female health workers. And to all the countless good Samaritans who have played a role in making this a bit more bearable for the vulnerable and those who need, we are truly grateful.
Yes, not all heroes are revered mythical characters who wear capes. Often, they are people you know clad in everyday casual clothing positing a world where kindness runs abound.
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