Sunday, March 22, 2020

Gratefulness amidst Chaos

By Gina A. Juarez

Strict enhanced community quarantine was mandated in Iloilo City, just like any other places in the country in order to control the spread of the crazy and deadly corona virus disease (COVID19. The government is actively doing their best to protect its people by doing many proactive campaigns, mandating necessary restrictions, providing essentials especially for our healthcare front liners who are tirelessly working to help mend patients recover and other kababayans who still needs to work to make things convenient for everyone.

Despite the danger amidst of this highly communicable disease, we are hopeful that together, we will win and get through this; to continue our lives well. Private sectors have been also generously channelling help by donating cash and goods to support the operation of the government and volunteers and for the people.

Love and compassion will win and heal all the hurt this situation has caused us. We’ll all get through this; the world will get through this because we have a Great God who is lovingly looking after us. This thing shall pass and we together in faith will make our fears and sadness turn into hopes and celebrations.

How did I cope with the long break?

Before the quarantine period, I bought food, some essentials and making sure to be physically distant from people. Anyway this is just for a while. By doing so, we take part and help prevent the spread of the virus. At first, I chose to stay in my rented space and was hoping to bear things alone, but I did not make it. I got anxiety attacks and was starting to feel uncertain. I was alone, stuck in my room, trying to entertain myself but definitely, as hours and days passed, I was feeling sick, hysterical and careless. I knew I have to do something. So I decided to leave and asked Jan to transport me home. The effect of receiving negative interpretations of other people was deeply terrible to my end. It was more destructive than the actual problem. It almost got me! Now I understand how other people ‘battle’ with their own minds. Now, I understand them more.

So I got home with a thankful heart. I was able to spend time with my mom. I ate real food, good food and occasionally battles with her about some chit chats in the morning. It is always true that in bad times like this, to be with your family is still the best fortress. There’s joy and gratefulness in my heart. I don’t really get enough moments with them. What was also special is that, at home, I get to learn how to cook, sort things, sleep well, watch movies, write and sing. There was freedom and peace.

I also like the idea that our overwhelmed dwelling place gets time to recharge and heal. Instead of becoming a channel of negativities in the world, let us focus more on the good side. Life is always uncertain. It can always give us many surprises. There are good days and there are down times. Let us choose to be proactive and thankful of everything we have in our lives. Our parents and siblings, our friends and colleagues, our good health, our career, our freedom, our special-someone, our entire life is a huge blessing.

We were all created tough and always ready to win every battle. Please have faith because the Lord will provide. | Iloilo City, Philippines, March 22, 2020    

Wednesday, March 18, 2020



            The Corona Virus Disease (COVID) 19 got the Environment Department cancelling all its scheduled events for March this year.

            In the light of the proactive move by city and provincial governments of Iloilo to protect its people from the local transmission of COVID 19, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) have decided to cancel all of its environmental events this month of March 2020.

Boracay Sunset taken by Boracay Dragon

            “We have to obey the rules and protect ourselves from this dreaded virus that is now gripping the world with fear. It is necessary for us to cancel our scheduled events for the month as protecting life is more important right now,” said Regional Executive Director Francisco E. Milla, Jr. of DENR Region 6.

Iloilo City Mayor Jerry P. TreƱas issued Executive Order (EO) No. 50-A (an amendment to EO Nos. 042-A and 050) series of 2020, while Iloilo Governor Arthur R. Defensor, Jr. signed EO No. 028-C, series of 2020 to protect the residents in city and province of Iloilo and prevent the spread and/or local transmission of COVID. Travel restrictions, discouraging mass gathering, school suspension, observance of social distancing and community quarantine procedures are all provided in the two signed EOs.

In support to these initiatives, the DENR Region 6 cancelled its scheduled activities for the month of March, namely: International Day of Forests (March 21), World Water Day (March 22), Earth Hour (March 28) and Women’s Month activities (March 1-31). 

As to the observance of Earth Hour, Atty. Ramar Niel V. Pascua, Regional Director of Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) issued an advisory encouraging everyone to still take part in the global lights off event by turning off all non-essential lights in their homes, establishments and offices on March 28 at 8:30 PM until 9:30 PM. 

As a preventive measure, the DENR 6 management also provided alcohol and sanitizer for use of all its employees, suspended the holding of flag rites and use of biometrics, closed the canteen for two weeks until April 14, and put up three Designated Receiving Areas (DRAs) at the Courtyard (regional office), at the Surveys and Mapping Division, and at Manuel L. Lagunilla Compound Ground Floor Lobby for those with documents to bring. Personnel are also discouraged to receive personal visitors or bring family members in the office.

This week, the DENR 6 has also adopted the four-day work week scheme in compliance to Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 2020-02 signed by DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu. The Memo Circular provides for the alternate working arrangements to ensure safety of the personnel while continuing to deliver essential services of the Department despite the COVID 19 threat.

Also, the Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force (BIATF) has decided to cancel “LoveBoracay” 2020 events due to the threat of COVID 19, after the March 12 meeting attended by Malay Mayor Frolebar Bautista with TF member alternates presided by DENR USec Ernesto D. Adobo, Jr. representing Secretary Roy A. Cimatu as head of the Task Force. 

LoveBoracay is a weeklong series of events celebrating the rehabilitation of the world famous island. It is slated for April 26 – May 2. But this time, it has to be cancelled. 

DENR USec Benny Antiporda, when interviewed by the local media after the meeting, disclosed that “since the COVID 19 situation has not improved, and with the health of the attendees, organizers and stakeholders, a primary consideration, the BIATF has decided to cancel this event.”/DENR 6

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

San Miguel Corporation (SMC) to produce and donate the alcohol in bulk quantities, 20-liter containers up to 1,000-liter tote tanks to government

SMC assures its food facilities will continue to operate; outlines efforts to help fight Covid-19

San Miguel Corporation (SMC) president and chief operating officer Ramon S. Ang yesterday assured the public that the company’s supply chain is stable and that it has more than enough inventory to feed Filipinos nationwide for the next several months.

Ang made the statement to underscore that there is no need to panic amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

San Miguel Corporation 

“As far as food supply is concerned, we have the capability to produce enough for everybody and deliver to supermarkets,” he said, adding the company is already working on distributing food donations to poor communities where daily paid workers have been especially hard hit.

San Miguel will also supply food to public hospitals and select government centers.

The most important thing, Ang stressed, is that Filipinos stand together and help one another.  “It is our sense of duty and obligation, pagkakaisa and malasakit that will see us through these difficult times.”

“Panic has no purpose at this time. Follow the directives of our government; cooperate in every way. This is the best way we can all help in fighting the Covid-19 virus, while the quarantine is in effect” he added.

Despite widespread implementation of flexible work-from-home schemes—which San Miguel has already adopted for its offices throughout Metro Manila—Ang assured the public that the company will maintain operations of its food manufacturing facilities, with heightened precautionary measures, to ensure continuous supply.

“We will operate our food facilities 24/7. This isn’t about making profits. We have a responsibility to make sure that food is made available to as many people as possible,”Ang said, adding that he was given assurance that government, through its Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), will lend assistance in securing its food facilities to allow for continuous operation and supply of raw materials to produce food for the country.

He added that other vital SMC businesses, such as fuels, through Petron Corporation, and power generation, through SMC Global Power Holdings Corp., and SMC Infrastructure, will also continue to operate.

Covid 19 virus.

“We will provide essential services such as food, water, power, petrol products and beverages to everyone,” he said. More importantly, Ang said all employees of SMC would continue to get paid despite the quarantine and any form of work discontinuation.
Donation of alcohol, disinfectants

Amid the shortage in alcohol sanitizers, Ang also said that SMC is looking to produce 70% ethyl alcohol at one of its facilities and distribute this for free to communities through their local government units.

The company is also donating to LGUs its own brand of disinfectant powder, which is safe for humans and can easily be deployed as extra protection against the virus.
"While hand-washing is still the best defense, hand sanitizers wilth 70% alcohol can be your next best option where soap and water are not available," SMC president Ramon S. Ang said.

He continued: “We have the means and capability to produce this, and make it available for free to LGUs and public hospitals. We are working on getting the necessary clearances from the relevant government agencies, to produce this for public use. We ask that they help expedite clearances.”

Ang added that SMC spirits subsidiary Ginebra San Miguel Inc. had already begun initial production of the alcohol over the weekend, for use in its facilities and for thousands of employees, initially.

“This is so our facilities and our own employees will not be taking away from the already limited supply that’s available to the public. Our main intention is to get this to our government and healthcare providers at the soonest possible time,”he added.Made through the fermentation of molasses, 70% ethyl alcohol is known to kill most germs and viruses.

Ang added that they are looking to donate the alcohol in bulk quantities, 20-liter containers up to 1,000-liter tote tanks. These can be used for disinfection in government, healthcare, and public facilities.

Currently, the company is working on getting the necessary clearances from government to produce the alcohol for public use, for humanitarian reasons.

Ang said the company is also donating over 13,000 units of its Protect Plus Gold disinfectant powder. Each canister can clean and disinfect a space of up to 650 square meters.

The product, produced by the San Miguel Food Group’s Animal Health Care division, is used for sanitizing air spaces and surfaces in facilities and even in hog farms whenever there are disease outbreaks.

Labeled potassium monopersulfate triple salt, it is safe for use even when there are people inside the room or space being sanitized.

“We are in a race against time to try and stop the spread of Covid-19 virus. Our government and healthcare front liners need all the support and help they can get,”Ang said.