In the middle of these desperate times the nation is united more than ever to put an end to COVID-19 with local communities, health workers, private sectors, and civilians working hand-in-hand with the government to adhere to the nationwide enhanced community quarantine. With majority of Filipinos lives disrupted and robust measures around the world attempt to contain the spread of the virus, the outbreak is hitting the marginal sector very hard.
And yet, it is also in the middle of these desperate times that the very best in us emerges.
The Filipino spirit of bayanihan stays strong — even the affected sectors have shown commitment to help the country through small acts of kindness. Women of the Taguig Livelihood Shoppe share their touching stories of heroism to help flatten the curve and mitigate the spread of COVID-19 with locally made reusable and washable face masks.
Vida Sario, 63, wife of a construction worker has chosen to stay in Livelihood Shoppe community center to sew reusable face masks for distribution and donation to densely populated areas in the Philippines.
“We were given an opportunity by LBC Foundation to do something significant and continue our daily livelihood with her face masks orders. We sew reusable face masks all day to produce 500 pieces of face masks daily. We can’t go home to our respective homes because it is our job to provide for our families and to help out the Filipino people so they will be safe in adhering to the enhanced community quarantine to fight COVID-19. Every day we think of the welfare of our families and our countrymen by making face masks,” Vida said.
Vida, is among the many Filipino women who heeded the call of duty to produce masks, personal protective equipment (PPEs), and other essential needs. With the help of the business community and its foundation, LBC continues to mobilize its networks and economic resources to provide assistance across the board and give livelihood opportunities to women like Vida.
Vida, is also the face of many women who have taken the family leadership in her hands during the enhanced community quarantine.
With majority of Filipino households losing their main source of income in these trying times especially with their husbands being forced to stay at home, the women try their best to contribute to the household on top of their daily responsibilities. For the women in Taguig Livelihood Shoppe, LBC Foundation has empowered them to continue on with their daily lives.
Jocelyn Rodriguez, 47, mother of three, and a wife of a construction worker expressed her gratitude for the help of private institutions and in return has also committed service for the Filipino public through sewing face masks intended for communities and front liners.
“I am very much thankful to LBC Foundation because they gave us an opportunity to continue with our livelihood in these hard times. I first started working in Livelihood Shoppe in 2004 where we make novelty items. But since the ECQ has been imposed by the government, it has stopped. My husband who is also a construction worker has been forced to stay at home with no pay. So, I am still grateful despite not being able to come home because I can earn to provide for my family’s daily needs. I am also sewing face masks not only for my family but it’s also my service and form of help to our countrymen. It’s very lonely to be away from one’s family during this time but I do this — sew face masks every day to ensure public health safety,” Jocelyn said.
The women of Taguig Livelihood Shoppe join medical front-liners, hospital staff, government workers, the police, the military, essential services workers like groceries, banks, pharmacies, garbage collection, utilities, media, civil society, ordinary citizens, and the business community working together round the clock to ensure that the Filipino nation continues to move with grit and dignity in the joint fight against COVID-19.
To date, LBC Foundation is relentlessly working with various nonprofit organizations such as the Taguig Livelihood Shoppe and Upskills Foundation Inc. to source, local produce, and distribute Php 50 million worth of face mask to vulnerable communities as part of their commitment to helping move the nation in these trying times. “LBC is starting this mask program with hopes of being one with all Filipinos–to flatten the curve. This initiative is also set to assist in educating the public more, on the vital function of masks to protect not just themselves, but also others around them. We believe that masks can and will save lives,” LBC Foundation Executive Director Nena Wuthrich said.
LBC tapped Rica Tinga to spearhead the donation in Taguig. The donated masks were prioritized to be given to seniors, pregnant women, and wet market vendors since they are the most vulnerable and susceptible to the virus. Most of the 28 barangays of Taguig were beneficiaries of the free masks, including Barangay Napindan, our important Muslim Community, Brgy. Maharlika and Brgy Fort Bonifacio.
In Pasig, they also gave out masks to the front-liners of Comet Electric Vehicles that serves as shuttles for the nurses and doctors in Pasig City General Hospital and Philippine General Hospital.
A simple act of kindness will go a long way, a simple mask will save lives and all we have to do is just try to take care of each other–a neighbor giving out masks to his neighbors. Filipinos helping others in the most challenging time. Everyone is encouraged to fight this virus as one. This is the true meaning of Bayanihan. These are noteworthy initiatives done by the private sector in partnership with communities to weather the storm and rise above the occasion the way we Filipinos know best.