Most of us in Uptown CdO have been living a peaceful life with your families in this privileged part of Cagayan de Oro and Northern Mindanao. Children are going to nearby schools, shops and amenities at your doorstep, great walks and bicycle rides on the pathways between the various subdivisions, the golf, the comfort of nearby restaurants, the stores of the air-conditioned environment of SM Mall, the many hang-out places and bars, the easy access to Lumbia area, the city’s busy downtown, the not too far Laguindingan airport and most of all our beloved personal freedom. Freedom to do what you want to do, when you want and where you want, that was taken for granted.
Then one day Mr. Corona sweeps in from nowhere and takes over all our lives, our work, our habits, our passions, our personal and financial freedom; all gone in one blow. Mr. Corona is spreading fear and panic among all of us. Nothing is normal anymore. Face-masks, alcohol bathing, hand-washing, home confinement and overall disbelief. Travel banned, shops closed, offices closed, companies shut, work lost. All the others doomed to the devastation that Mr. Corona brought upon us including the helplessness of the world’s authorities and the hysteric and psychotic preaching of the doomsday and our demise if we don’t follow the harshest guidelines of self-confinement and social distancing. “Stay home! Stay home!”, the incessant slogan with no end to the disaster in sight. Even the World Health Organization said that they don’t know if Mr. Corona will ever go away.
Waking up to this nightmare has been a harsh awakening. It has been a very serious problem for so many of us. Out there desperate families with no work, no food and no money trying to borrow from relatives and friends to survive. So many on a sardines and rice diet for months now hoping to get some needed cash at least to cover for the most urgent necessities. The government’s SAP program has been like a drop in the sea with too many not being able to receive this support. Too many have broken down psychologically, living with their egos and their pride in ashes, with the broken spirit of who cannot provide for his family and cannot see the light anymore. Entrepreneurs with their overheads, rental payments, loans, salary payments, desperate to gather their last resources to cover these costs. Layoffs as a result with thousands losing their jobs. Shop and Retail owners not receiving their rents or facing forcefully shut doors and therefore no customers and no income. Same in the tourism industry, the hotels, transportation and hospitality services. No tourists, no work, no money, no life. OFWs being sent home. Seafarers also being sent back. Tragedy, tears and hopelessness.
“What’s next? When can I go back to work? What shall we do? Who will give us a loan? Where do we get our daily food from? Will this ever end?”. These are the questions that most people keep on asking daily and is there an answer?
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