As the Philippines passed the point in the month-long enhanced community quarantine to counter the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), it could be a timely time to partially revive public and mass transportation – at least for the benefit of health workers and other frontline staff since the struggle is real as they spend their energy at work and getting stressed about going to their workplace and homes.
On the other hand, the drivers in the country has been working hard too in sending the needs of the people daily. But here’s a plot twist for the real time heroes supporting their co-heroes in surviving and battling the pandemic virus.
Oplan Hatid laban sa Covid (OHLC), a group of volunteers and members of non-governmental organizations, trained and deployed drivers to transport frontline personnel and protective equipment from and to medical centers in the National Capital Area. This joint initiative ensures that at a time when safe and reliable patient treatment is critical, healthcare professionals can continue their operations as smoothly as possible.
Next, volunteers apply through the online form of OHLC or via the endorsement of one of the coordinating NGOs of the party. The group holds a virtual orientation session from here, in which volunteers are provided with the requisite information to properly transport objects and individuals between posts.
OHLC then provides volunteers with the necessary documentation and safety procedures to get to their destinations, and with all arrangements complete, drivers are distributed throughout the country, transporting objects and persons who use them safely inside towns, across organizations and across boundary lines.
OHLC has risen to the challenge of more than 100 volunteers so far, including at a time when terror and confusion left many feelings of helplessness at home. Drivers have provided transportation assistance to key institutions since the group’s inception, including but not limited to the National Kidney and Transplant Institute, Philippine Heart Center, Metro North Hospital, Commonwealth Hospital and Medical Center, St. Luke’s Hospital in BGC, Diliman Doctor’s Hospital, Chinese General Hospital, and Rizal Medical Centre.
As accounts of volunteer encounters continue to be shared and praised on different social media. The effect these individuals have managed to achieve in a short while has inspired online actions. And in a sparkling example of mutual leadership, these reports have motivated people around the country to pay it out in their own way, with many Filipinos contributing everything from funds to safety equipment to keep the campaign going smoothly before the pandemic subsides.
This kind of trait will always be seen among filipinos. The bayanihan spirit especially in times of crisis. As Margaret Wheatley said, “There is no power for change greater than a community discovering what it cares about.”
Help is overflowing. Restoration is coming.