Jomar Columba, 18

By Jomar Columba
Grade 12 student at Jagupit National High School

This deadly pandemic has caught the nation off-guard. We are baffled as schools, churches, and stores closed down. Our economy suffered even as the country incurred heavy debts from other nations. Nonetheless, this crisis has put to the test yet again our unrivalled spirit of interdependence, that is, the Filipino Bayanihan.

In my eyes, Filipinos are bravely fighting this disease – not with bombs and bullets but with doctors, nurses, and other volunteers at the frontlines. Our medical and health workers have shielded us from possible viral infection while the police, the army, and local government units have ensured the implementation of quarantine laws and health protocols.

However, there’s a downside. A lot of our countrymen live in poverty. Not everyone has extra savings. Hence, for a no-work-no-pay worker without other sources of income, the loss of a daily wage due to the lockdown and/or quarantine could mean hunger for the family.

Yet in all these, we strive to survive.

The government’s Social Amelioration Program(SAP) somehow turned the tide. Public officials and private volunteers worked together to distribute sacks of rice, food packs, and other items to millions of our most affected kababayans who received the goods with joyful smiles on their faces, including mine.

Evidently, the sense of togetherness and unity among us Filipinos has never wavered even in these uncertain times. We have shown that we can overcome the odds when we lift each other up with our helping hands and caring hearts.

In obedience to civil authorities, we stayed at home to prevent local transmission of the virus. It’s just a simple gesture but it contributed to the common good.

In the battle against Covid-19, we depend on each other. We can’t fight alone. But by our concerted interdependent efforts where each individual plays a significant part in the Bayanihan, we can win it.

Just as every rice grain builds up our harvest pile, our every effort adds to our collective drive against the pandemic. That’s why we are still alive and kicking, both young and old. This proves that, as our forefathers had taught us, we have never surrendered to the current adversity. We are pushing back.

There is no doubt we will be victorious against the unseen enemy. But there’s still a long way to go. Meanwhile, we need to continue gazing heavenward for divine assistance even as we keep the fire of Filipino Bayanihan burning in our hearts.

END

[Ed. This article is the winning entry in the “Reflection-writing Contest” sponsored by DepEd Agusan del Norte YOLO Program and the Sangguniang Kabataan Provincial Federation, edited and abridged for publication at this website.]