Protecting all
PERSPECTIVE - Cherry Piquero Ballescas (The Freeman) - April 4, 2020 - 12:00am

The whole world is now engaged in the race to contain the virus and protect everyone. While a vaccine is still unavailable, thank God that there are cases of recoveries reported, inspiring hope for confirmed COVID-19 patients.

Meanwhile, all are praying and waiting for a definite cure for COVID-19 soonest. Our dear God, thank you for your protection and your victory over this present virus!

For now, all of us have to do what is necessary to protect ourselves and everyone. As the virus strikes anywhere and anyone, everyone will have to cooperate to contain the virus so as to protect oneself and everyone else.

It’s clear that while the present pandemic is basically a medical, a health issue, social collaboration and support are crucial to the leveling of the contamination curve. The more people observe physical distancing, the better the chance of limiting the spread of the virus.

When each one seriously follows the health protocols of handwashing, strengthening one’s immune system, keeping oneself healthy, observing physical distancing, among others, one is doing oneself and everyone else the big favor of helping contain the spread of the virus.

Love, for oneself and others, will definitely defeat this virus!

It is heartening to witness and we applaud the individuals, groups, organizations and governments that have extended care and compassion especially to the medical and non-medical frontliners and the needy.

National and local governments here and abroad are responding variedly to the need to protect all and to contain this virus effectively. Given the diversity of people, communities, and societies, expectedly, there cannot be one uniform effective policy for all.

As this type of pandemic is new to all, how to protect all is a challenge for people, policy, and practice.

For example, to contain the spread of the virus, lockdowns and enhanced quarantine compliance aim to keep everyone home, if possible. There are various types and styles of implementing lockdowns and EQC, however.

What is, per location, the most effective protective policy and practice will have to consider various factors such as 1.) Personal and household characteristics (age, household size, economic capacity, type of housing, others); 2.) Community characteristics (location, total number of households, population density, services and facilities available, others); 3.) Local government capacity and performance (available budget, service and welfare delivery performance and capacity, etc); and 4.) The linkage with local and national government units and sectors.

The more data available, the wider working knowledge and understanding responders have about communities and residents plus the availability of shared resources and responsive governance/leadership and multisectoral/multilevel collaboration, the higher the possibility of better protection within these areas.

Keeping the people safe medically is one issue. Keeping people alive with available daily food and water support is administrative. This is now the real present urgent basic need and challenge of the campaign to protect all in Philippine communities.

Everyone may want to stay home, never mind how limited, crowded and unfit one’s home may be. However, it is difficult for those who have no savings, no source of food and water to stay put at home. Either they die from the virus, they say, or they die from hunger.

To avert and prevent emergent social discontent to escalate, governments and groups genuinely interested to assist and protect all will have to devise, soonest, preferably now, an effective collaborative working system to provide enough and sustainable supply of essentials --food, water, medicines-- for all, especially to the needy, in all communities.

People will stay home and observe physical distancing if assured of guaranteed access to an effective equitable sustainable network and system that sustainably provides daily essentials for all.

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