Tibaldo: Writing my Covid-19 diary (part 3)

Consumers atbp.

WE WORK as one, we heal as one. This is the guiding principle that I read in many social media posts in Baguio marked with hashtags like #flatteningthecurve and #beatcovidbgo. While all sectors continue to help "flatten the curve" following the enhanced community quarantine and by maintaining social distance, some activities and community programs are understandably necessary to allow residents to buy food and for traders to be able to supply the needs of consumers.

I attended a recent inter-agency meeting at the Baguio City hall and Mayor Benjamin Magalong pointed out the need to allow public works contractors to finish some infrastructure projects that may pose risks and cause damages to both lives and property once these are left undone prior to the rainy months.

In recent news, the city was lauded as a model local government unit for managing to keep its coronavirus disease 2019 cases low for almost two weeks however a recent update came as a blow with a new case in Scout Barrio and Dagsian Barangay that is now under total lockdown.

Talks on government programs such as the social amelioration, emergency subsidy, and low-interest loans are being packaged by government line agencies and the past days. I have been chronicling the rolling store program of the Department of Trade and Industry and the Kadiwa on wheels program of the Department of Agriculture which is tied up with the association of Barangays and a local department store. Said activity was meant to prevent residents from straying away from their respective places just to buy their needs like food and beverages, toiletries including hygienic items like alcohol and hand sanitizers. Other areas in the city are being scheduled but are subject to the limited manpower capabilities and resources of the distributors and department stores that include Savemore, Puregold, and Tiong San.

In a related development, we learned from social media and our chat group that some teachers were tapped by agencies to either conduct a survey or evaluate the living condition of SAP applicants in the barangays. I have also encountered posts by observers or netizens vouching that their neighbors are very much qualified for the social amelioration program (SAP) package due to some facts such as being jobless senior citizens.

An educator who posted herself as Manang Lig-ay in her Facebook account, however, cautioned her fellow teachers of possible violations to the Data Privacy Act and she wrote a rather lengthy explanation that protects the beneficiaries of the SAP from breach and intrusion of their private beings. Manang Lig-ay in her FB wall addressed her fellow teachers validating SAP beneficiaries saying "Please remember that what you are doing is mission work. As you go around, please be reminded that you were sent to that special mission to validate, nothing more, nothing less, period. You were not sent to see and critique how they live. For every composition that you post about how they live, that is judgment and they do not deserve that. What you see, what you hear in every household that you visit, you leave these in that household and in your heart.

Remember also that to a great extent, as you visit them in their homes, you are breaching their privacy. The environs around their houses are theirs and it is expected that there are laundry hanging out to dry." Manag Lig-ay who probably saw images posted by her colleagues added "Please refrain from taking pictures of these then post these on social media."

Remember further that volunteerism is mission work or mission work is volunteerism. Be like the frontliners at the checkpoints and at the hospitals who work without attracting attention to how they are working. For every selfie that you take and post of what you are doing, the very HEART of volunteerism is lost and YOU become what matters in what you are doing. In my account, I am also guilty of taking and posting selfies on activities that are current and perhaps of interest to others like the Holy Week's procession of the Black Nazarene and at our rolling store and to this, I actually researched whether I am suffering from a rock star syndrome.


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