By Seneca Moraleda-Puguan
It’s finally over!
Oh, how I wish I could already say this. It would have been great if this is what’s written all over the news and on social media. But unfortunately, the crisis is far from over. In fact, for many countries like the Philippines, the war against an invisible enemy has only just begun.
When the number of COVID-19 cases has been rising in South Korea, my husband and I were shocked but not shaken. We were quite worried but we were calm. And true enough, we have seen how the government stepped up and dealt with the situation. Thousands of test kits have been produced and an efficient system put in place on how to deal with patients and people who are showing symptoms has been put in place. All residents are constantly being informed about the statistics of positive cases in their respective areas, specifying the gender, age, location, etc. so that the public will know what places to avoid and to take extra precaution. We are confident of South Korea’s comprehensive database system, excellent healthcare system and advanced technology. Eventually, they have flattened the curve. South Korea used to be among the top countries with the most number of COVID-19 cases but now, Western countries especially Europe have taken over.
But such is not the case for the Philippines. We are deeply grateful to be in South Korea at a time like this but our hearts break for our beloved home. When news of coronavirus breaking out in the country came out, we became anxious and weary. We started to think about our families and loved ones there. The Philippines is ill prepared for this kind of pandemic. We don’t have enough facilities to contain a growing number of patients who’ve tested positive with the virus. We have a lot of homeless people who have no place to stay while everyone else is on home quarantine. There are millions of working Filipinos who need to provide for their families. Our medical workers don’t have enough protective gears to shield them from the virus. Aside from this, the distrust of many Filipinos toward the government and the lack of discipline among many of our kababayans have dampened our spirit. We have a lot of questions and concerns that the only thing we were moved to do is fall on our knees. When we pray, tears begin as we ask the Lord to spare the Philippines.
But as days go by and I looking at how some local governments are responding to the situation, and businesses along with ordinary citizens contributing to help the front liners and provide for those who have no resources during the lockdown, we started to have hope. We have been reminded of the strong Filipino spirit. We have faced countless trials, disasters, and tragedies as a people. We never backed down. We stood strong, remained resilient and always triumphant.
COVID-19 has already taken so many lives, not just in the Philippine but around the world, including many brave frontliners we now consider heroes. And it will take a while before the virus will be contained. Despite the many bad reports we receive every single day, we must have hope like we always do. We must not allow fear to cripple our hearts but instead have faith that we will win the war against this deadly virus. Let us confront and defeat it with unity, compassion and love for each other. The virus may be strong but we must prove that we are stronger. We can and we will because we are all in this together.
I am excited for the day we can look back and say we did it and have overcome. The war against COVID-19 may be far from over and victory may not be ours yet, but as we work hand in hand by staying at home and cooperating with the government, or generously giving and supporting our front liners and needy countrymen, or simply falling on our knees and storming the heavens with prayer for the nations to be healed, we will get there. It will take time, we will lose mighty warriors along the way, we will have battle scars, but it will soon be over and we can finally raise the flag of victory.