Learning from COVID-19 Part Two

We are discovering and rediscovering things about ourselves and the world we live in as we go through this global crisis. One could only hope that when all of this is over, we can look back and consolidate the things we have learned into a blueprint for a better path forward.  And perhaps, build back a better world for all of us. 

This is part two of a series of articles aimed at ensuring we do not forget these life lessons.


From far-flung barangays to Malacanang to the headquarters of international organizations, the current crisis is exposing the whole world to examples of leadership that works and those that do not. Even from the confines of the private sector, leaders, both good and bad, are getting the spotlight. Indeed, any crisis tends to highlight our leaders because they are the first ones expected to act and move. The challenge for us who are not in the position of leadership is to work with those who are with designations, elected posts, and authority. 

We have to work and to ensure that we are moving in the right direction. 


While we need to keep our physical distance to prevent the spread of the infection, this crisis is showing us that we need one another to survive. The government cannot do all the work. And each one of us is expected to play a role. However big or small our responsibilities are, we need to deliver and perform these. Our very survival rests on all of us doing our share.


However, no matter how one looks at it, poverty will always complicate and aggravate any national crisis. We are witnessing how poverty is making the community quarantine and other government interventions more challenging and difficult to implement. Those who feel that this reality does not concern them may think otherwise when the socio-economic fall out from this crisis starts to drive people into desperate acts.  

Poverty is a wicked problem — one that we need to seriously address if we are to build back better after this crisis. And yes, solving this puzzle may be more complicated than developing the vaccine against COVID-19, but we owe it to ourselves to try and try harder. 


This one may be obvious even before this whole crisis exploded. But, because of the community quarantine and the restrictions on travel, information has become a basic need – something that we cannot live without, in much the same way as we depend on food and water. We have long complained about the state of our internet connectivity and how we lag behind our ASEAN neighbors. Yet, we have not made headways into making this critical lifeline more accessible and more efficient. 


Had the Tall Volcano erupted two months later, we would have had to manage the response and relief operations while under community quarantine and limited travel. Imagine the complexity of having to address two crises with resources split between attending to the increasing number of patients, and responding to the displaced communities in Batangas and Cavite. While the likelihood of an imminent eruption has gone down, there is still that possibility. Actually, because of our geographic location, we are always under threat of a major volcanic eruption or a devastating earthquake, not to mention typhoons and storm surges come the rainy season. We pray that somebody is thinking about this and putting a solid plan in place. 


Some individuals and groups have started mobilizing to provide food and other basic and necessities to families who have no means to secure these for themselves. Some groups and individuals are taking the risk of infection by volunteering to bring critical healthcare workers to and from hospitals and healthcare facilities. Some private organizations have pulled together sizable donations to provide masks and other personal protective equipment for frontliners. There are community volunteers who have stepped up to help manage the quarantine and ensure peace and order in their respective communities. There are so many other stories that reveal generosity and compassion still exist — proof that the Bayanihan spirit is alive and well.