My Enhanced Community Quarantine-Part 5

I have always been vocal about my support for the lockdown because this is for everyone’s health and safety. As early as February when the first case emerged in January 30, 2020, I was among those who expressed our support for NCR’s lockdown (that’s why I was supportive of Mr. Salceda’s suggestion during the early days in March). To be honest, I did not expect that come March 16, all of Luzon would be put into an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

I vividly remember that Monday morning when the Business Continuity Plan (BCP) team were discussing about the community outbreak and whether our company was prepared for it. After lunch, an officemate who was on leave and watching the news messaged me that there was a possibility of a Luzon lockdown. My daughter normally leaves the house early during Mondays so I warned her and told her not to go to Quezon City because of the scoop. She ignored me and went ahead; those were the longest hours of my life feeling helpless and praying that she would come to her senses. After two hours, her text message seemed to be on a panic mode, I advised her to return home as soon as possible. It took her 4 hours to come back home because of the checkpoints and traffic. One worry down, I won!

We left the office at 7 PM with engineers asking me on what to do. Being like a mother or an elder sister to them, I assured them that there was nothing to be worried of. That should they failed to go home, we have the company dorms to accommodate them. I reached home at around 8PM, just ate a little dinner and then me and my husband hurried off to the nearest convenience store to buy canned goods. One worry down again!

Then before I slept, I told my father about the lockdown. He was not aware of it. I told him that a senior citizen like him would be prone to covid infection so he better listen to us. The next several days would be like a daily attendance check up with my father if he was home or not. By nature, he was very outgoing so I knew that the ECQ would hurt his social life.

The lockdown allowed me to take care of my kids while working from home. Our last approved work from home was April 4th so I had more time to check on my father until the day that he did not pick up my calls. I would not elaborate the details as they were still fresh but the bottomline was, the lockdown did not allow us to GRIEVE in a conventional way.

Because of the ECQ procedures, Papa had to be buried as soon as possible while I was viewing them from my cousin’s video call. I nearly collapsed because of too much pain and grief. To be honest, I am still in shock but not as shocked as two weeks ago. Me and my siblings are fortunate to have the love and sympathy of our relatives and friends. May God have mercy on us on these trying times.

My Enhanced Community Quarantine-Part 4

This week is the 4th week of the Luzon-wide quarantine. President Rodrigo Duterte announced last Monday that the ECQ would be extended up to April 30th. Per Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, government policy makers would have a daily assessment of our situation as basis if the government would lift the lockdown on April 30th or continue it. To date, we have 3,764 cases where majority of it are coming from the National Capital Region.

Coincidentally, it was also last Monday (April 6, 2020) when the excom announced that all but 20% of our work from home workforce would have to consume our leave credits while the company is running on skeletal force. This means that as of this writing, I am free as a bird blogging, researching about covid and relaxing while trying to find ways on what to do should the lockdown extends until I don’t know when.

I would have to be honest that the Wall Street Journal article “The Month Coronavirus Felled American Businesses” affected me when I read it before going to sleep last Monday. With barely four hours of sleep, I was not my usual self the next day. Good thing, I was able to nap after lunch and when I woke up, it seemed that I had a clearer picture of the things that I needed to prepare for the coming days.

Then I thought that in this time of crisis, the people need to feel that there is still hope. That we can rise above all of these and return to normalcy. Birthday celebrations, graduations and weddings were postponed. Even attending a relative’s wake became impossible due to the lockdown. Baguio City’s curve has been flattening for almost two weeks now. If they can do it, we can also do it here at the lowlands.

My Enhanced Community Quarantine Experience-Part 3

Part 3:

A week into the enhanced community quarantine, boredom is still the farthest thing on my mind as I am busy working from home. I am working for a manufacturing company and we are still operational but we’re only using our skeletal workforce so the rest of us were either allowed to work from home or were using our leave credits to get paid. Those who are working from home like me submit our deliverables on a weekly basis. Tasks for the following week must be approved by the department head to check if they still merit a work from home.

I have no problem working from home; I do this even during the pre-covid19 days whenever I need to finish some analysis or report. I feel like I’m still in the office in my own tiny space as I’m not easily distracted by TV sounds or my children’s noise. This enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) is not a vacation— I am working, people are staying in-doors, some people are infected, some people could not survive.

There are actually two types of people in these whole ECQ thing: those who can afford to be put in quarantine for one month because they have the means and those who CANNOT survive a day without going out to earn money.

Type 1 people: Those who can afford to be put in quarantine:

– working from home

– has enough leave credits

– do not have enough leave credits but are loaded with cash and credit card

– do not have enough leave credits, not loaded with cash, no credit card BUT with family or friend to support them

Type 1 people do not worry about the quarantine period in the same way that Type 2 people do. Some of them just get bored and attempt to see how the world looks like now. Some of them become insensitive about posting stuff that Type 2 people would find offensive: ranting about being not able to attend parties and thinking about what food to cook for the next meal. Good thing if their Facebook or Instagram is set on private so that the whole boredom thing becomes an inside joke among their circle of friends.

Type 2 people: Those who cannot afford to be put in quarantine:

– daily-waged earner with no available leave credits

– monthly-waged earner with no available leave credits

– daily and monthly-waged earners who have no family or friends to support them

– street vendors, jeepney drivers, taxi drivers or basically those who live a life of “isang kahig, isang tuka”

Because we are too concerned about the spread of the virus, we need to watch out for Type 2 people who try to break the law by violating the ECQ guideline because they need to put food on the table. Food rations must be consistent and every barangay must know who these type 2 people are— the poorest of the poor, nasa laylayan ng lipunan.

My Enhanced Community Quarantine Experience- Part 2

When Albay representative Joey Salceda suggested a lockdown in March 10, 2020, I thought that was a good idea. I was not being anti-poor but the enemy was out to hunt us, we better do something before all of us get infected. I underestimated the lockdown period and thought that 7 to 14 days would be fine to do contact tracing.

4% of our company population reside in NCR. When the lockdown happens, these 4% would be forced to work from home, depending on their job. At this point, our company was still targeting to produce our normal production requirement per day. Ironically, it was also on the same day when news about a PUI from the next barangay spread like wild fire. Stricter measures were implemented within the industrial part’s entry point while the governor of Bulacan declared no classes from March 10-14.

The following day, people started panic buying of the basic commodities like rice, canned goods, milk, soap and rubbing alcohol. Funny how weeks earlier, the rubbing section alcohol of the grocery section was the area with the least traffic! To add insult to injury, some people most likely hoarded rubbing alcohol supplies and tried selling it a steep price. I kept myself busy each night reading about the latest covid 19 news in China, Italy and of course, the Philippines. It’s good to have reliable sources who provided me with first hand information about how things were going on in their area. Then one night, my mother who passed away 11 years ago crossed my mind. For the first time again in many years, I found myself yearning for a parent’s comfort. Not that my father could not provide that kind of support for me but anyone who knew my mother would say that she had the most comforting words to offer.

(to be continued)

My Enhanced Community Quarantine Experience- Part 1

AreaOldest PatientAverage Age of PatientYoungest PatientNumber of Cases
For Validation82502263
Quezon City76501324
San Juan City86542715
Makati City75572414
Pasig City8854328
Mandaluyong City7048296
Marikina City8670425
Paranaque City5842244
Negros Oriental6448312
Las Pinas City5856532
Pasay City4646461
Lucena City3535351
Camarines Sur3434341
San Fernando, Pampanga6767671
Manila City5656561
Antipolo City6060601
Lanao del Sur5454541
Davao de Oro2121211
Muntinlupa City4444441
Grand Total885013187
Data source: Philstar data as of March 17, 2020. To date, we already have 202 cases of covid19.

2019 was a life changing year for me when I found myself going to the emergency room (ER) accompanied by a neighbor due to dizzy spells. That was days before Valentine’s day, my father’s birthday. The dizzy spells and fluctuating blood pressure continued up to the early 3rd quarter until I changed something in my lifestyle and diet. My goal in the coming year was clear: I wanted to be more connected to my family.

Since I missed my father’s birthday, my brother’s graduation and even visiting my mother’s grave, I decided that 2020 would be a different year for me. Hence, I went to visit my father on his birthday, had a lunch with him, my brothers and nephew then went back home on the same day. Please take note that we do not live on the same province.

I promised my sister that we would be there for my nephew’s first birthday. I have arranged our transportation because going there meant travelling for 8 hours back and forth.

I subscribed to an air bnb site to check for accommodation in Cebu and Bohol because we did not want to bother my husband’s relatives.

All of these things happened before March 2020. There were 3 cases of covid 19 in January but they were all foreigners so we probably underestimated the spread of the virus. It was March 3, 2020 when my boss formed a Business Continuity Plan team in our company where I was one of the members. There seemed to be nothing to worry about except that the group decided that anybody from the previously identified places of infection would need to undergo a 14 days quarantine. When that happens, I would be affected because our itenerary was Cebu and Bohol and I would be out of the office from March 25 to April 13, quarantine period included. I questioned the logic of the quarantine decision given that during those days, it was the NCR with the highest incidents of PUI (person under investigation).

“Therefore, we need to quarantine those coming from the NCR, too!”

In March 7, the employee from a company in BGC tested positive. I was beginning to question if visiting Visayas would be a good decision. But then, the situation seemed manageable and some people even said that life must go on as long as you’re wearing surgical mask. Speaking of mask, ironically, we didn’t have it during the time when we needed it the most. I used to buy a box of it because December was my allergy month and I was prone to flu and colds, too.

The following week, more cases appeared and our company issued a travel ban to all international flights. This was bad news to some of my co-workers who would have spent their vacation in the Middle East, US, Europe and some parts of Asia. At this point, I was already reading how to refund airplane tickets but did not have the nerve to tell my children that we would have to defer our trip. The BCP meeting in the company became more frequent and tensed; things were getting out of control when the news about a PUI in a nearby barangay broke.

Strict measures were implemented in the company. The people were not used to this kind of ambience so everybody was not being themselves. In our family, we opted for drive thru instead of dine in. Masks were out of stock and when available, were sold at a steep price.

March 13, 2020, President Duterte announced a community quarantine covering all of Metro Manila. Just two days later, he announced an enhanced community lockdown extending to all of Luzon!

(to be continued)