By Jun Ledesma

Acts of kindness

THE brouhaha over the shut down of ABS CBN also shuts out from the public’s knowledge the extremely laudable contribution and support of individuals and corporations that help the government in battling  COVID 19. The invisible enemy decimated the population worldwide, paralyzed the movement of people, wrecked the economies of wealthy nations, and prevented people to even shake hands. 

Despite difficulties and imponderable challenges, the Philippines is not running out of people and corporations that are reaching out to those in dire need. Let me start with those closer to home. 

The Davao City Water District (DCWD) had earmarked ₱20-million for 8,000 sacks of rice and standby fund for whatever priority needs the city government might need.  DCWD Chairman Ed Bangayan said that the water utility exactly knew which barangays in the city have dense population of people in dire need of help. DCWD provides bottled water in the Southern Philippines Medical Center where testing and treatment of COVID patients are attended to and in the city’s quarantine facilities.  Small amount but considering that DCWD is a water utility and its rates are controlled, the assistance  is worthy of praise and emulation as those in the billionaires  league. Let us not forget the  recent series of destructive earthquakes that hit Davao region and Cotabato. DCWD was there with relief goods and water tankers for the victims. The water district crossed borders to extend help where needed.

Early on, when SPMC was in dire need of Personal Protection Equipment and DoH was not sending any, a group of individual fetched-in modest amounts to buy PPEs for the front-liners.

Up in The National Capital Region,  among the first groups that responded and offered help was the Filipino Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry which donated ₱100-million worth of medical supplies to the Department of Health.  The Chamber by the way also made representation to China Ambassador to the Philippines, Huang Xilian, for additional medical supplies and equipment and for a team medical experts to help. Wuhan has just won their fight against COVID-19 and China was ready to extend help to our embattled DoH.  In no time at all more PPEs, masks, and test equipment came along with a team of Chinese doctors. 

In the corporate arena, San Miguel Corporation made startling news. It is paying the government P12-billion in taxes and fees and assured its employees no one will lose their jobs in the duration of the COVID-19 scourge.

The Ayala group, meanwhile, has unveiled a P2.4-billion coronavirus response package for ‘businesses within its eco-system, including income support and rent condonation for tenants of shopping malls padlocked during the month-long Luzon-wide lockdown’. Its corporate support to the global battle against COVID-19 pandemic, Includes wages, bonuses, leave conversions, and loan deferments, primarily for the extended workforce of partner-employers so they may continue to be paid for the duration of the pandemic. 

From MVP Group of Companies came a fleet of sedans, buses, cargo vans for the law enforcers for their mobility and speed of response as the country is grappling with COVID 19. Earlier the flagship of PLDT and Smart also donated several thousand liters of ethyl alcohol, PPEs to various government and private hospitals and food packs for Philippine Marines rendering duties to control peace and order in their assigned areas. Everything, gratis et amore. 

Their unsolicited contributions in the battle against  COVID-19 made such a reverberating impact on the government's campaign it humbled a grateful Pres. Rodrigo Duterte who apologized for his verbiage of expletives over the uncertainty of water which the Ayala and Pangilinan firms supply as concessionaires.  

No matter what, when tragedies and emergencies arise it cannot be denied that the richest and the not-so-rich instinctively respond with awe-inspiring kindness. Ours may not be a country of milk and honey but we are not short of kind and generous people.

But what could be more inspiring than two senior citizens from different barangays who returned the social amelioration cash assistance saying they had their monthly pensions and a tricycle driver who returned the sum of P8,000 to his barangay upon learning that his wife already received their monthly Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps).  In a way, it is their way of helping others.

Indeed,  no act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.


About the Columnist

Image of Jun Ledesma

Mr. Jun Ledesma is a community journalist who writes from Davao City and comments from the perspective of a Mindanaoan.