A silver lining to the COVID-19 pandemic

By Jose B. Maroma Jr.

Crises bring out the best in people. The 1986 Edsa Revolution showed how a fired- up group of leaders galvanized and rallied an entire nation behind a national cause. One of those in the forefront of the movement was Big Business.

I will not write down the names of the active players then, lest I forget some but they’re all in the list of the 20 biggest companies in the country. I venture to name with pride only one person close to my heart, the late Jaime V. Ongpin, former chairman and president of our company EEI, who was one of the convenors of the Edsa movement.

Recent events indicate that Big Business is rising to confront and beat another challenge – the looming economic havoc which COVID-19 threatens to bring to our nation. This time it’s not a violent struggle for freedom but a similar concerted effort to use massive financial resources to bring us economic relief.

I can hear distant sounds of hope as Big Business starts to flex its muscles and take the bull by the horns. Ramon Ang. MVP, the Ayalas, the Villars, the Gokongweis, the Lucio Tans, Senator Pacquiao, and many others big and small are stepping up to the plate. Saving our economy is not only patriotic, it makes good business sense.

The Filipino people are the market that generates wealth for our business titans and I sense they don’t want to kill the goose that lays the golden egg. When Megaworld donated prime property in Iloilo City for a Convention Center, they were not only civic-spirited, they were also smart.

Over and above mundane considerations, however, is the wellspring of goodwill which suddenly gushes out of one’s breast when the heart is pricked and moved by something beyond the ordinary. You may call it destiny, reality, or even divine intervention but we have seen that miracles do happen, like the one that occurred at Edsa.

The flame has been lit by Ramon Ang and other early birds. I may be overly optimistic but I can see a bandwagon effect (help me and my fragile crystal ball, Lord). I can almost see the fire building up to a conflagration where politicians will cross party lines, businessmen will start giving back, and Filipinos will ask, “what can I do for my country?” You may talk to that seamstress in Batangas who single-handedly cut and sewed face masks to give away free.

You may also ask that motel owner in Pasig who once hosted seekers of fleeting pleasures but who has offered his place as a shelter for Corona virus patients. The motivations behind these acts of benevolence may be varied but they both proceed from human goodness at its best.

Hope springs eternal. I may neither be churchy in ways nor scriptural in language but I believe in the grace of a Supreme Being delivering relief to those who seek it. May God bless the Philippines!

The author is a retired civil engineer from Cabatuan, Iloilo. He likes to spend his time reading and writing on the burning issues of the day