The True Essence of Bayanihan

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The #StayAtHome challenge feels like a breeze, especially when you’re comfortably situated under a roof, with clothes on your back, and great food on your plate. 

We can watch through the news about the worsening pandemic and worry about what meal to serve later this evening with markets closing down. 

A repetitive scenario that feels boring to most but a daydream for the penniless. While the privileged has the ability to panic-buy necessities and treat this public health concern as an early vacation, laborers who are heavily reliant on day-to-day wages are left to panic on the streets without access to these basic services. 

The entirety of Luzon was put under the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) with hopes to control the escalation of COVID-19 — built under promises of enough food supply for families and a clear statement of “Walang magugutom.” 

With this shaky foundation, the Filipino masses are left with questions as to how they will be able to survive a month-long quarantine. The government mandated Local Government Units (LGUs) to provide for their constituents and even proved to be more innovative and compassionate to their people. 

Despite lack of funds for many cities and barangays, some were able to aid families in their communities but that does not include everyone. Although these acts should never be overlooked, many of the marginalized, mostly from the countryside, are left without food on their plates. 

News reports bombarded our screens with people leaving their homes and going to work despite the danger and lockdown; and vendors and PUV drivers’ outcry the same plea “Mahirap maging mahirap.” 

In dire times of need even without having the ability to reach hands to help, many Filipinos chose to be the spark of camaraderie when many are cast aside to starve. 

Non-government organizations arose to call for donations for the masses who received no support from the government. 

The Central Luzon Disaster Response Network (CLDRN) is at the forefront in helping masses across Central Luzon for farmers, workers, Aeta and urban poor communities. 

CLDRN was established in 1991 after the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo. Fast forward to present time, it still continues to promote collective response and actions to empower victims of calamities and pandemics. 

However, the organization has been a victim of malicious statements from PNP that undermined their initiative to serve the people, despite this, CLDRN stands true in providing urgent and much-needed relief to the poorest of the poor in Central Luzon. 

Tulong Kabataan remains to uphold its duty in its wide relief and rehabilitation network spanning across the country. The youth are mobilizing in this crisis to let the people know about the situations the urban poor communities face. 

Meanwhile, BigayBente is a newly established donation drive that offers a cheap yet sufficient way to help—by donating an amount of twenty pesos. 

Only in its second wave, they were able to provide for hundreds of families with their beneficiaries such as Power in Her Story and Kaya Natin! 

As of this writing, the total monetary donations BigayBente has received is at Php 91, 008.97.

These non-governmental organizations were able to raise thousands of funds for basic supplies and even Personal Protective Equipment for our health workers. These are only some of the many organizations that had that initiative to help.

Contrary to what online trolls infest our social media with, the Philippines does not have the worst citizens but perhaps an incompetent government. 

The Filipino masses are the ones creating their own sense of plan in this seemingly unplanned circumstance we are in. 

The act of accepting the irrational terms of the government is in itself a privilege—while some have to clamor for their rights in order to be heard. Home quarantine is most troubling to those who don’t have homes. 

Despite this, we can help those in need through these non-governmental organizations without the strain of going out. 

We don’t always have to wait for change to happen. Sometimes we have to be that change we need.Look at everything in a broader perspective, amidst this crisis, we can be part of the flames in upholding the true essence of Bayanihan. 

(Klenia Ern Mendiola is Features Editor of The Angelite — Editor)