EVERYTHING that happens now is indeed historic. For the first time since World War II, there was no public celebration of the Palm Sunday as we Catholics used to as we are now placed under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) to battle the Covid-19 pandemic. In our home, while we prepared our “palaspas”, we set up the television and played the live stream video of the parish mass. While the Eucharistic celebration was ongoing, I told myself, “this is becoming the new normal.”
The government is bent on exhausting all means to sustain the gains, if there are any, on the ECQ implemented over the entire Luzon since March 16. The Inter-Agency Task Force or IATF has formed a technical working group that is “currently preparing to provide recommendations to rebuild confidence and adjust to the new normal.” The ongoing consultation is done online and is spearheaded by the National Economic Development Authority or Neda, one for the consumers, and one for the business owners.
For the consumers, one of the top issues that should be addressed is access to basic necessities. Since only one person per household is given the quarantine pass and allowed to go to the market or grocery and the local government units devised schedules for each barangays to avoid the pile-up of people in the market, it has become a “special” mission for the head of the household to buy all the necessary food requirements of the family. It even becomes more challenging if the person holding the quarantine pass happens to be the husband, (no intent to be gender-sensitive) but it already happened to me that choosing the best cuts from the market is not the cup of tea of most men (not to mention the “tawaran” skills).
Secondly is the access to cash, while most can be done using online schemes, we still need to get out and withdraw some cash from our accounts. Lucky are we if we experience this kind of dilemma for some, if not most, of our kababayans, do not even have that luxury of having that extra money to get and use at this time of dire need.
Third, is the necessary support to be able to perform work-from-home tasks. We have certainly proven that the internet is already an integral part of our day-to-day living, much so now that we rely on it to still continue doing our work even if we are not physically present in our workplaces. We still see the clamor for a more stable and reliable internet connection that can support apps that promote collaboration and telecommuting.
Lastly, the fear and the uncertainty that we feel upon stepping out of our homes is something that has haunted us for the past month now. Why suddenly, the mere idea of going to public places has posed so much threat and hesitation when it used to be something that is so ordinary before?
I think that for a while, this will be our new normal. Amidst these uncertainties, what’s best is that we continuously cling on to Him for He will never abandon us.