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A Time for Healing and Caring

(A Statement of Support to Cagayan de Oro City Government’s efforts and initiatives on COVID-19)

It has been almost 2 months since this journey against COVID -19 pandemic began. The virus is unseen. This battle is way bigger than us. Yet, since day one, we have seen how our front-liners and volunteers have responded bravely to the call of duty, even risking their lives, and being away from their families. We have also seen how the leadership of the city government agonized whether to lock down the city or not. Just like us, they might be exhausted, if not consumed by now. As one Balay Mindanaw Team, we are among those who have silently offered our volunteer service, modest support to the city, with the intent to be of little help and use, without expecting recognition and rewards.

As law abiding and active citizens of this City, we have heeded the call of the government by suspending our field work and sent all staff to their families and have started a flexible working arrangement. We learned our lessons from the pains of the previous calamities that the city experienced, TS Sendong was a re-awakening painful tragedy. We have truly risen from the mud. We are actually enjoying the results of the City’s effort to prepare the communities for future events. We believe this has elevated the reputation of the city, making it one of the most resilient cities in Asia. Yet now, we are seeing individuals and groups that are seemingly celebrating the failures of others. Even dis-crediting the successes of our front-liners.

This is way overwhelmingly painful than the virus itself. Sad.

What has happened to the values of a true Kagay-anon, a true higala that offers help, that shares the pain and victories of the neighboring communities? What has happened to the ‘culture of inambitay and kurambos’? As one team, we support the City Government’s response to mitigate the impact COVID-19 in the communities. Because we believe that the battle against COVID-19 does not simply lie at the hands of the government, but that of the individual citizens and families. We believe that in times of uncertainties and social unrest, hope remains alive, seeing real compassion with the local governments and communities.

We deal with the political differences separately. Not during these challenging times.

What the communities, front-lines, public servants and volunteers need most right now is our all-out support by showing our patience, not criticism. Understanding, not mockery. Compassion, not violence. Co-existing without hurting each other. Once again, we are reminded that violence is never an option.

The battle against COVID 19 will not be solved by throwing ill words at each other, or spreading fake news to cause scare, hatred and panic. We shall beat COVID 19 together and heal as one community. Let us use this time to take care of ourselves, be with the family and reconnect with our community. Echoing Pope Francis’ Urbi et Orbi Message: We cannot go on thinking about ourselves, but only together can we do this. More than ever, this is the time that we need each other. We pray that by waging this one big fight against COVID – 19 together we will emerge victorious and heal as one community.

-Balay Mindanaw Kagay-anon