THIS pandemic made us do and explore things we wouldn’t normally do and explore if it weren’t for social distancing and movement restrictions.
Different industries, whether public or private, paved the way for the use of technology for more convenient and easier transactions. The threat of the virus has affected the lives and the livelihood of many and so when the economy had the meager chance to recover, it grabbed the opportunity by the neck.
Grabbing it also meant taking advantage of the available technology and infrastructure in the country, to keep up with the tech-savvy knowledge that the younger generation already has. Using an app to pay bills, book an appointment, or attend a seminar is not taught in school but something we have to learn on our own to adapt to the changing times.
The competition of local banks nowadays is not anymore about the types of loans they offer nor is it still about the quality of service provided in their branches. Clients now check the efficiency of the mobile apps for faster remote transactions. They also appreciate branches whose online security is good and has fewer records of scams and hacks.
Filipinos now favored banks whose mobile apps allow them to multitask such as to encash cheques, transfer payments from another bank, payment centers, or online wallets, and pay bills, among others. As much as possible, people want to spend less time in queues and inside banks for fear of virus exposure.
Although there are still a number of Filipinos lining up in banks for transactions that may be done online, different banks have intensified their information campaign strategies.
Filipinos are huge fans of education. And so when the pandemic hit, the Department of Education was firm on still holding classes albeit online and remote rather than totally postponing it. Teachers, students, and parents had a few months to adjust following the movement restriction implementation in March.
Teachers learned to use online tools such as Google Meet, Google Drive, and Zoom among others. They learned the importance of constantly checking their emails or FB messenger to connect with more students. It’s challenging for the older generation who wouldn’t specifically call themselves tech-savvy but their work demands it. So they comply.
If before parents monitor their children’s schoolwork at a certain distance, now it needs more than that. I know of some parents who, outside of their jobs, make time to check on their children’s online class schedule, internet connectivity, and to make sure that they are still paying attention while the class is ongoing.
Yes, being attentive can be very challenging in an online class -- not only for elementary students but also for older students. I used to work as a college instructor and I know of some students who choose to just fade away in the middle of the semester for some personal reasons. As a teacher, it’s also your responsibility to check on these students every now and then -- to send them care letters and to make sure they have someone to talk to albeit remotely. This is on top of the mental pressure and anxieties that the teachers themselves go through because of the setup.
Because of the threat of the virus, hospitals are more strict with the people coming in and out of the hospital premises. They established telemedicine which allows patients to still talk with a medical practitioner about their conditions without having to physically be in a hospital.
The Southern Philippines Medical Center and the Davao Doctors Hospital are two of the first hospitals in the city that initiated telemedicine. This is to cater still to more patients with milder conditions but would need medical attention such as skin diseases, routine check-ups, and dental problems among many others.
Recently, the Center of Psychological Extension and Research Services (Copers) of the Ateneo de Davao University launched their online counseling for people dealing with anxiety and other mental dilemmas amid the pandemic.
Every individual has a different response to stress and quarantine. Their body and their mind have different reactions to the situation and so telemedicine and online counseling are of great help.
The social network Facebook became more than just a medium to connect with friends and loved ones from far away during this pandemic. It also became a medium for media organizations to reach a wider audience.
As for SunStar Davao, for example, we have intensified our digital presence all the more last year. Because of the movement restrictions, we anticipated Dabawenyos would have less opportunity to go to newsstands and buy newspapers. Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, Pressreader, and our regularly updated website are our opportunity to reach out to more readers at the fastest time possible.
The narrative of advertising has also taken a turn during the pandemic. Gigil Advertising Agency, for one, tickled the palate of their audience with their weird storyline. And yet, they have continued to do so, playing not only with the narrative but with the medium as well. Greenwich, a restaurant selling pizza and pasta, has a video advertisement online where their crew apologized while holding a tarpaulin of their current pizza promo. It’s cute because many are familiar with how annoying ads interrupting the video you’re watching. That advertisement was also by Gigil.
Brands have also started using memes as a means of making fun of themselves but in the process, gaining engagement and applause from netizens, especially the younger ones.
I’m thinking of Angkas, a public motorcycle transportation in the Philippines. They use funny memes posted on their Facebook page to tickle their audience. It works because usually, its target market is the people of that generation.
Filipinos are resilient, creative, resourceful. We usually think outside the box. So even if the pandemic has highlighted how crappy our internet connection is and how behind we are compared to other neighboring countries, we make do with what we have. And somehow, we’re still here. We’re fighting and we’re surviving.