News from the Philippines

In these months we have not been able to do many things: it has been impossible to move, travel, physically reach our people in the villages and those who have sent us their requests for help. A good network of contacts has developed which allows us to deal with unforeseen events and situations of family abuse which unfortunately increased during the lockdown. The local authorities have committed themselves to distribute aid as well as many other religious and charitable organizations. However, it is small aid compared to the real needs: it is impossible to reach everyone and for such a long time. The lockdown started last March 14th.

The school situation is still uncertain. The President of the Republic has declared that only if there will be the vaccine you will be able to return to school. He asked schools to prepare alternative programs, online lessons via radio and television. These programs require the use of digital technology which of course is impossible to find in many areas of our country. It is absurd to think that for those who live in remote, rural, and disadvantaged areas there can be access to the internet. In Mindoro, there are places where there is not even electricity yet. Moreover, in several areas, the mobile phone remains the only virtual tool for the whole family. Many parents have decided not to let the children continue studying while waiting for “normal” school to resume.

School lessons were interrupted last March, but life lessons continued: we have learnt to live in a different, essential dimension, sharing the fear of the whole community, nation, and world, and we have learnt to act with prudence and respect for the good of all.

A few writings by our children expressing their desire to return to school, to resume a more normal life, to see their parents regain serenity and work, to know that the virus has finally been defeated, reveals the discomfort experienced in these months and the awareness of the suffering and destruction that an invisible virus has brought from one end of the world to the other. In some areas declared “Covid Free”, free from any contagion, people are gradually starting to live again, but normality seems increasingly distant because many have lost their jobs, it remains difficult to place agricultural products and fish on the market because of the limits imposed on transport. So many difficulties but also the desire to overcome them in the best possible way.

This experience has helped everyone to widen their horizons, to pray, fear, and hope with the people of all over the world, united by this pandemic.

Sister Rosanna Favero, contact person on site

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