Opening up your heart

PSC chairman Butch Ramirez has called on everyone “to step up to the plate” in a display of “unselfish patriotism” to do his or her share in fighting the coronavirus pandemic. It’s all about opening up your heart to do what you can for the first responders, frontliners, health care providers, doctors, security men, checkpoint monitors, military, police, barangay officials and on-duty staff in groceries, drug stores, banks and other establishments that service the public.

The Rizal Memorial Sports Complex, the PICC forum halls and the World Trade Center are set to be transformed into quarantine stations to isolate at least 1,000 patients in an effort to decongest hospitals. The Ninoy Aquino Stadium, refurbished for the recent Southeast Asian Games, will be a quarantine site. The PhilSports Complex, the New Clark City Athletes Village and the Philippine Arena are other sports-related facilities to be mobilized for this purpose. 

Last February, the Athletes Village took in 49 people, including 32 OFWs, repatriated from Wuhan, to undergo a 14-day quarantine. The Asean Convention Center in Clark and the New Clark City Government Center in Capas are also earmarked for construction of quarantine sites like the Amoranto Stadium, Quezon Institute, Duty Free and Filinvest Tent in Alabang, among others. Once the sites are up, the next priority is to make sure there are health workers and staff to care for the patients.

Aside from providing a quarantine site for patients, there are efforts to shelter health workers exposed in the frontlines. La Salle Greenhills, for example, has launched its Safe Shelter Project to welcome frontliners of The Medical City in Pasig. Classrooms have been converted into sleeping areas and the cafeteria has been opened to give food to the frontliners who are brought to the school in buses for free.

De La Salle Philippines president and former Secretary of Education Br. Armin Luistro said 16 La Salle campuses will be opened as temporary havens for homeless volunteers and health care workers. Because of the enhanced community quarantine, it’s important to gather the homeless and give them shelter to avoid the incidence of infection in the streets. At the La Salle Razon Sports Center and the College of St. Benilde Sandejas gym, some 150 homeless volunteers were mobilized to assemble more than 3,000 relief packs for distribution to urban poor communities in Metro Manila.  This was a joint initiative of La Salle and the Divine Word Missionaries with the relief goods and PPEs provided by the Philippine Business for Social Progress.

The public may participate in this effort by donating pillows, industrial rice cookers, percolators for coffee, large garbage bags, first aid medicine, small bath towels, clothes, bath soap, shampoo and alcohol. Financial donations to buy food, medicine and health kits may be given to the AJ Kalinga Foundation, Inc., Asia United Bank Peso Savings Account No. 082-11-000496-2. The shelter-for-the-homeless project connects La Salle, St. Benilde and the Kalinga (KAin, LIgo NG Ayos) program of the Divine Word Missionaries.

In another partnership project, UST and St. Benilde are collaborating to produce face shields for frontliners. So far, 300 shields have been rolled out using 3D printers to produce laser-cut reusable acrylic plastic. Safety and durability are the main features, patterned after the design of UST students mentored by Industrial Design professor Manny Dacanay who teaches in both UST and St. Benilde. 

This time of crisis has bonded different sectors of society together in an unprecedented show of unity and humanity. When the pandemic is over, we will all look back and realize life isn’t about worldly possessions, power and authority but it’s about compassion, love and faith in God.

Date: April 5, 2020 | By: Joaquin Henson | Newspaper: Philippine Star | Source: