Pandan was the first municipality in mainland Antique that registered a confirmed case of Covid-19 patient. Unfortunately, it was dubbed as the “ground zero” of the province due to the increasing number of Covid-positive cases. As a fourth-class municipality with limited resources and manpower, it was a huge challenge for the Local Government Unit (LGU) how to fight this health crisis. This led to their call for dagyaw, a term used to refer to the collective effort that brought together Pandananons composed of government agencies, civil society organizations, private businesses, and individuals in addressing the pandemic.
The University of the Philippines Pandananon *(UPP), on their behalf, initiated various activities as part of their contribution to the dagyaw. When the organization called for donations, various sectors such as University of the Philippines Visayas, Northwestern Visayan College, Team KG/Team Iloilo Suits and Shields, and other Pandananons based overseas answered the battle cry. The donation drive collected a total amount of PhP 184, 913.39 while in-kind donation received alcohol, face shields, materials for face shields, and protective personal equipment (PPE), among others.
The first wave of the donations was used to purchase goods for distribution to selected indigent senior citizens around Pandan. Donations of vitamins, medicines, and thermometers to Pandan Rural Health Center, Persons Under Monitoring (PUMs), and Person Under Investigation (PUIs) who were quarantined at schools soon followed. Cash assistance was provided to selected individuals who were financially-challenged since the community quarantined started.
Meanwhile, the donated face shields were distributed to the personnel of Philippine National Police and Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Office of Pandan as well as to neighboring municipalities such as Libertad and Sebaste; money remittance centers; and other establishments. The complete sets of PPEs were distributed to frontline health workers of Justice Calixto Zaldivar Memorial Hospital and Tugon Medical Clinic in the said municipality.
UPP also received helped from a group composed of teachers, tricycle drivers, and students in making 300 pieces of improvised face shields out of the donated materials such as acetate roll, garter, and double-sided tape. These were then distributed to frontliners of the 34 barangays of Pandan.
When the municipality was put under Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ), one of the sectors that suffered the most were the vegetable growers in the mountainous barangays as they could not sell most of their produce to neighboring towns and to the municipality’s public market due to the border restrictions and the quarantine measures being implemented. The talipapa, which is an alternative marketplace, that was put up in every barangay could only cater limited produce from vegetable growers. Thus, UPP purchased 200 kilograms of ampalaya from the vegetable growers through the Municipal Agriculture Office. One hundred kilograms were distributed to frontliners manning the entry posts of barangays while the remaining one hundred kilograms were pickled. The organization tapped a group of residents in Barangay Talisay to make the pickled ampalaya. They also sourced from other barangays more or less 70 liters of coconut vinegar needed for the pickling. The picked ampalaya will be delivered this June to those who pre-ordered them.
When this health crisis hit the municipality, the organization has been actively doing its part as a member-volunteer of the Pandan’s Task Force COVID-19 especially in raising awareness and disseminating information through the translation of COVID-19 related messages in vernacular. These were posted on various social media platforms for easy understanding by the locals.
UPP also presented to the LGU its consolidated suggestions for a post-ECQ scenario. The organization is ready to sustain its role in the municipality’s dagyaw to battle its way amidst challenges brought by this pandemic. (UP Pandananon)
*(The University of the Philippines Pandananon (UPP) is an organization composed of students and alumni of the University of the Philippines System from Pandan, Antique. The organization aspires to promote historico-cultural awareness in Pandan and proactively participates in the discussion of social issues affecting our local community and country as a whole.)
(This was originally posted on the UP Visayas website on August 4, 2020)