It’s Easter Sunday and also the fourth week since the entire Luzon was placed on Enhanced Community Quarantine or ECQ. For many Filipinos, most of the Lenten season was probably spent dealing with a variety of emotions. We worry over the health of loved ones, job security and putting food on the table. There’s also a feeling of helplessness, that while many are safe in their homes, our front liners especially the healthcare workers have lost and are still risking their lives to save thousands of our fellowmen.
Indeed it has been a difficult time for us all of these past few weeks. But we Filipinos have always been resilient. And in times of need and despair, we can count on our Bayanihan spirit to pull us through.
American screenwriter and author, Ray Bradbury once said that “Action is hope. There is no hope without action.” And Filipinos, as well as citizens of other nations, went to work. And I don’t mean being business-as-usual with our new work from home strategies. I’m talking about good deeds. Acts of kindness that show compassion for those in need.
We at the University of the Philippines(UP) Vanguard rolled our sleeves and went to work, too. We have been providing food, washing machines, and toilet kits, among others to stranded UP students in Diliman and Los Baños. Likewise, we offer online legal and medical consultations for our brods.
Like many private citizens and organizations, we also look out for the safety of our healthcare workers who have been risking their lives to care for the sick. We have donated hundreds of hazmat and isolation suits, and masks to hospitals, particularly in Amang Rodriguez Hospital and Philippine Heart Center. These two are hospitals where some of our brods hold key positions. Other hospitals in provinces are recipients of these goods, too.
The UP Vanguard has heeded the call of President Rodrigo Duterte who asked for the mobilization of ROTC trainees to help in the distribution of relief packs to families affected by the ECQ.
All these programs are made possible by the cooperation and donations of our committed 2000-member organization.
I, as the National Commander of the UP Vanguards, share our efforts, not as an act of grandstanding, but rather to stress that the Bayanihan Spirit that the Filipinos are known for is very much alive. So many of us in our country are finding different ways to reach out to those in need and fight the unseen enemy that is COVID-19. The UP Vanguards is one with the Filipinos in fighting and winning the war against this pandemic.
It is not surprising that we are coming together as a nation to mitigate the effects of our ECQ. We may all be affected by this pandemic yet most of us continue to do our best to help one another regardless of what worldly wealth we have. Pope Francis said it best during “An Extraordinary Prayer in the Time of Pandemic” service in St. Peter’s Basilica:
“We have realized that we are in the same boat, all of us fragile and disoriented, but at the same time important and needed, all of us called to row together, each of us in need of comforting the other.”
Easter Sunday is about hope, they say. For us, hope means getting into action. And with our combined efforts, “Together, we can beat COVID-19” just like what our government says.
Happy Easter, everyone! And please stay safe!