Aklanons show compassion in varied ways amid COVID-19

Aklan Provincial Treasurer Bernardino R. Villaruel (right) and Provincial Planning and Development Coordinator Engr. Roger M. Esto (middle) receive 15 liters of Ethyl Alcohol (70% concentration) produced by the Aklan State Univiersity School of Arts and Sciences (ASU-SAS) Banga Campus. The alcohol will be distributed to various health facilities in the province for use of the frontliners. At left is Alexander Ramos of ASU-Banga who represented the university during the donation. (Photo Courtesy of the Aklan Provincial Capitol Information Office)

By Venus G. Villanueva

In a barangay in New Washington, Aklan, a Punong Barangay, whose duty is to look after the welfare of her constituents, made a novel move to help keep the residents safe from COVID-19 – she personally sewed washable face masks for them.

New Washington now is one of the 12 identified municipalities with zero Persons Under Monitoring (PUMs) and Persons Under Investigation (PUIs).

While everyone was scrambling to buy face masks as protection against the disease leading to shortage in drugstores, Punong Barangay Lea Ramirez of Guinbaliwan initiated the sewing of washable face masks for barangay residents, PUMs, and frontliners.

The face masks were made of cloth donated by the Philippine Red Cross.

The emergence of COVID-19 also motivated a group of young people to organize Project Kalibo, or the Kapit-Bisig Para Sa Mga Frontliners it Kalibo, with the aim of  showing Aklanons and Local Government Units (LGUs) that anybody can initiate a project to help the government in fighting the pandemic.

According to Jhon Marlou Salido, one of the proponents of the project, they are focusing on helping the province’s frontliners in appreciation of their sacrifices for the victims of COVID-19.

Aklan has six confirmed COVID-19 patients, mostly admitted at the Dr. Rafael S. Tumbokon Memorial Hospital (DRSTMH), who are reported to be in stable condition.

A German national from Romblon is also under treatment at the DRSTMH for the same disease.

The German national also became a recipient of kindness of Project Kalibo when somebody posted on Facebook that he and his caregiver needed assistance – food for both of them and some toiletries – as they are out of money and the movement of the caregiver was restricted.

Project Kalibo sent food and other essentials to the needy duo, and the good deed of the organization was acknowledged by Romblon residents via social media.

Salido said the organization is accepting financial assistance to sustain their activities and is also open to individuals who wish to join them.

The project has provided assistance to Rural Health Units (RHUs) personnel, DRSTMH personnel, Kalibo Enforcers, Private Hospital personnel, Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management Offices (MDRRMOs), and the local media.

Salido said they will sustain their assistance throughout the province until the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) is lifted.

At Barangay Camanci, Numancia, Aklan, another group showed their love for Aklan’s frontliners by literally creating “fashionable” surgical gowns for them.

In an appreciation post on his Facebook Account, Governor Florencio T. Miraflores cited Camanci Rural Improvement Club, Inc. of Numancia, one of the active partners of the Provincial Government of Aklan, for the group’s kind and thoughtful gesture.

The governor specifically cited Aklanon designer Ryan S. Lopez, who  assisted the Camanci RIC  by designing the surgical gowns  for the province’ s frontliners.

The governor committed to extend all resources to provide the best for them (frontliners).

Another group that emerged in the forefront to show their love  and concern for DRSTMH, which is the Aklan’s COVID-19 hospital, is the Aklan Medical Society, which initiated a fund-raising activity to help in purchasing additional Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs), goggles, respirator masks, and other essential needs.

In his letter asking for donations, Dr. Danny Portes, AMS President, said majority of the members of the group are in the forefront  of the fight against COVID-19, and are the so-called frontliners, and there is a need to help the Provincial Government to ease its burden, by raising funds to buy protective gears.

In Banga town, a professor of Aklan State University, a chemical engineer, helped solve the shortage of alcohol by producing the disinfectant in the School of Arts and Sciences laboratory.

The move was to help augment the supply of alcohol in hospitals and other frontline offices in the province, as supply has disappeared from shelves of drugstores here in Aklan.

One of the recipients of the ASU-produced alcohol (15 liters) was the provincial government of Aklan. (PIA)