5 creative initiatives that help people cope with COVID-19

In times of crisis and panic and uncertainty—when even some public officials, elected to serve, dismiss the calls for help and tag them “fraudulent,” “misleading,” and “fake news”—many who truly care and understand the situation step up and come up with ways to cope with the challenge. 

Funds or no funds, the important element is a lot of creativity and a lot less manila paper to address the problems. 

There are many ways people have done or are doing today to cope with the coronavirus disease crisis, but first, here are five of them:

Baguio City’s ‘survival gardens’

While other local governments in Luzon distribute grocery packs filled with rice, canned goods, and instant noodles (props to others that include vegetables in the packs), the Baguio City thought of a sustainable way to ensure food security: by urging residents to plant vegetables to establish “survival gardens” in case the crisis lasts long. 

Among the seeds distributed by the City Veterinary and Agricultural Office to the villages include lettuce, pechay, spinach, okra, pole beans, eggplant, bunching onions, and garden peas, among other vegetables that can be harvested in two months. 

According to City Veterinarian Brigit Piok, the project aims to sustain the supply of vegetables in the coming months in barangays and households that have spaces or container gardens. 

Piok said 16 agricultural barangays in the city have been given seeds for free since March 24, but other barangays may request upon showing proof such as picture of container or plots ready for planting.

Pasig City’s Mobile Palengke

From the city government that utilizes disinfectant drones comes another solution to the problem of social distancing in commonly crowded areas such as wet markets and groceries: roving stores or “Mobile Palengke.”

On March 24, the city government began deploying five roving stores in an effort to keep people away from public places and encourage them to stay home. 

5 creative initiatives that help people cope with COVID-19
Pasig City's roving store (Photo from Vico Sotto/Facebook)
“Upang mabawasan ang dami ng tao sa Pasig Mega Market at mga talipapa, inilunsad namin ang Mobile Palengke. Presyong palengke, mas malapit sa mamimili, at tulong na rin sa mga maninindang Pasigueño,” Pasig Mayor Vico Sotto said in a post on his official social media accounts. 

Goods sold at the roving stores, such as meat, fish, and produce, are sourced from the vendors at Pasig Mega Market, the city’s main public market which Sotto said will remain open throughout the lockdown, but the number of shoppers will be limited.

Pasig’s five Mobile Palengke will cover different areas every morning; the schedule is posted on Pasig PIO’s Facebook page. 

Online medical consultation

The doctor is… online to answer people’s medical queries and to decongest hospitals which are now stretched to their limits and unable to receive more COVID-19 patients. 

As of March 24, at least four major private hospitals in Metro Manila announced that they were no longer ready to receive more coronavirus disease patients due to overcapacity. 

While many services have long been offering consultations online or through phone call, more physicians have come to the rescue to offer free services. 

The Lung Center of the Philippines has volunteer doctors offering free consultations related to COVID-19. Go to Lung Center COVID Ask Force on Facebook. 

The Coalition for People’s Right to Health and the Council for Health and Development offer free consultations via their COVID-19 hotline (02) 8806-1306, available from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. or through Facebook Messenger. 

The MDH Pulmonology Postgraduate Course has volunteers offering free online consultation for COVID-related symptoms via Facebook Messenger. 

Many doctors are also available online to answer COVID or non-COVID medical questions. 

Recycled face shields

While hospitals await for more supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE), concerned groups and individuals work together to ensure availability of face shields—some make them using 3D printer, and others using recycled plastic bottles. 

5 creative initiatives that help people cope with COVID-19
Plastic water containers turned face shields (Photos from Angel of Holy Spirit Academy, John Chua)
In a Facebook post, the nurses at The Medical City are seen wearing improvised face shields made from recycled plastic bottles donated to them by Jeanette Tolentino and Camella School teachers. 

For those unable to make recycled face shields but have available water bottles, several groups and individuals collect plastic water containers, preferably the 5-, 6-, or 7-liter size, and transform them into face shields to be donated to hospitals. 

Angkas Food

To kill two birds with one stone: to offer additional food delivery service to quarantined Metro Manila and to provide its riders income while the ECQ is in place, that is the goal of Angkas when it launched on Monday its food delivery service. 

The motorcycle ride-hailing firm, however, clarified that the service, Angkas Food, is only temporary and the bikers will get all the proceeds from the delivery fee. “We will not take any commission in this initiative,” Angkas said in a tweet.  

5 creative initiatives that help people cope with COVID-19
Angkas offers food delivery service during ECQ.
Customers can place their orders from 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. from any Angkas Food’s list of partner restaurants. The list, admittedly few and limited, is available on Angkas website.  

The restaurant will then provide the contact details to the Angkas rider. Delivery fee starts at P60 for the first three kilometers, and additional P10 for every kilometer added but only up to five kilometers. 

Cashless payment to the restaurant is highly recommended, but cash on delivery is also available.

Topics: coronavirus disease , survival gardens , Mobile Palengke , Vico Sotto , Angkas Food
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