I would like to share with you some news about what is happening here in the Philippines. The corona virus has now reached the whole world. This is the same here with us.
Within a few weeks, the number of people affected has risen from 12 to over 700.
What this means for each individual can hardly be imagined. There is a total lockdown.
Police and military have sealed off the streets and residential areas everywhere. Only one person per family is allowed to leave the house and only to buy food. And to go to work? This was already forbidden a week ago. All businesses, restaurants, shops—everything including all public transportation have been put to a halt.
For millions of slum dwellers in and around Manila, the lockdown is much worse than the virus itself. “We are not dying of the virus, but of starvation” is the fear among thousands and thousands of people who earn their daily money for one or two meals as day labourers or garbage collectors. Not being able to leave the house and, thus, not being able to work means no money and no money means no food. Especially the people in the slums have no account, no money reserves, and no supplies.
They live from hand to mouth every day. Even without a virus pandemic, such families struggle to survive. Even then, the money earned was often only enough for a bowl of rice a day, but now it is a matter of bare survival. In addition to the problem of supply, there is also the problem of hygiene. Water is only rationed twice a week for drinking. Washing your hands is out of the question.
As for social distance, this sounds like a joke in the most densely populated place on earth with over 65,000 people per square kilometre. And with a healthcare system designed only for the rich, a serious course of infection is a certain death sentence to many.
Please pray for God’s intervention. For God’s wonderful grace and provision to be strongly felt by these families who really have to fight for their survival. So many decisions are not thought through by the government and often contradict each other. This also affects us in our children’s homes.
Officially, there is a home quarantine for all people, while at the same time, all hospitals, social services and children’s homes remain operational.
However, there are no means of transport that can bring the employees to work, because there is a complete ban on all public transport.
And if you go by car or motorbike privately, the police will stop you all the time and won’t let you pass because the local authorities has given the officers an order to not allow certain working groups to pass.
Again and again, there are big complications and discussions, because nobody really knows what best protocol applies. There is total confusion, because everyone – the city, the provinces and the government – makes different decisions, which often contradict each other, and are practically impossible to implement and make other applicable rules in the implementation impossible.
THIS IS SOMETHING THAT ALSO HINDERS US IN THE CHILDREN’S HOME.
For example, we as an organization have to do a bulk purchase for our children’s homes every week. However, at the moment we are only allowed to buy small quantities as protection against panic buying. That’s fine, but what do children’s homes like ours do when they have to shop for 100 children!
At the moment there is even a discussion about closing all supermarkets, because people think there are too many people shopping. They are thinking about rationing food per family and to hand out food packages regularly by the government to every family.
But how does the government intend to distribute food packages permanently, consistently and sufficiently to 60 million people currently under lockdown when it cannot even manage to provide the most basic necessities to the people in the slums of Tondo who are struggling to survive at this very moment?
This fuels the panic even more and people are totally afraid.
NEVERTHELESS, WE DO NOT WANT TO STOP HELPING THE POOR IN SUCH TIMES.
We want to try to buy rice from farmers in the coming days to provide for the families in Tondo.
And how can we implement this? This is what we are currently trying to figure out with the local government of Tondo, Manila. Please pray with us to get this permission and get this worked out.
If you can and you are willing to, you may support this action. A 50 kg bag of rice costs 50 Euro.
So in all of this, I hope that wherever you are, you would have a grateful heart and will find hope and peace that surpasses all these crises. Thank you for partnering and praying with us.
A big hug & warm greetings from the Philippines,