Uploaded by Janina San Isidro


Gapan City Mayor Donates Sacks of Rice to 34,000 Household
Netizens showered praises on Mayor Emerson “Emeng” Pascual of Gapan City,
Nueva Ecija as he donates 45 months worth of his salary when Luzon enters the
second week of the enhanced community quarantine.
Last March 22, Pascual is seen personally carrying and delivering sacks of rice to
his people; the residents of Gapan was also able to receive eggs and canned
goods daily.
According to Mayor Emeng, with a population of 140,000 people, it’s undeniable
that most of his town mates live in poverty, “isang kahig, isang tuka,” as he put it.
That is why it would be hard for their citizens to survive under the enhanced
community quarantine guidelines. “I am the president of the tricycle driver
association here,” he says. “I personally go around and arrest those who are still
offering services. But then they told me “Pangulong Emeng dalawang oras lang.
Gusto naming mamasada para may pagkain lang kami. Isang kilong bigas lang
uuwi na kami.” “Even if I strictly implement the law, they won’t listen to me
because they don’t have food on their tables to feed themselves and their
families,” he says. “I prevent them from working and ask them to stay at home. I
need to make sure that they don’t have any excuse not to follow it.”
In addition to this, the Gapan residents receive 3000 pieces of eggs and canned
goods daily. He also gives chickens, which they could cook into Filipino favorite
dishes, adobo or tinola. He will buy the chickens to the poultry farm owners so
they don’t need to sell them outside Gapan city. The mayor said that buying the
farmers’ produce is also his way of helping them, making sure that their products
won’t go to waste. He proudly says that all of the rice the LGU is giving out are
harvested from Gapan. With a limited budget of P35 million from Gapan City’s
quick response fund, Mayor Emeng knew it was not enough to provide adequate
relief supplies to 34,000 families. This is when he decided to donate his salary as
mayor since he started his term last July 2016. Mayor Pascual was likened to Pasig
Mayor Vico Sotto and Manila Mayor Isko Moreno, whose stellar performance in
handling the health crisis has made them viral on social media.
South Korea: A Role Model in the Battle of COVID 19
The South Korean government responded quickly and effectively to the
coronavirus emergency, but the recognition for the country’s success goes to the
citizens and their responsible behavior, said Prof Eusun Lee, emergency medicine
specialist at the Korea University Guro Hospital in Seoul.
In an attempt to slow the pandemic, governments are resorting to strict measures
of prevention, like lockdowns and home quarantines. However, South Korea,
which had the most cases outside of China until overtaken by Italy and US, has
emerged as a symbol of hope and a model to follow.
Today, South Korean health authorities reported a rise in new daily infections
with new outbreaks in the southeastern city of Daegu, as well as in the capital city
of Seoul and neighbouring areas. So far, 262 people, mostly elderly patients with
underlying illnesses, have died in South Korea. As of yesterday, 9,851 patients
have been dismissed from hospitals after fully recovering from the novel
coronavirus, up by 407 from a day earlier, the biggest one-day release so far.
“From the first days of the emergency, [South] Koreans have shown great civic
responsibility,” said Prof Eusun Lee. “Many have reduced travel to a minimum and
went out only when necessary wearing protective masks.” People immediately
followed rules and common sense: In case of cough, cover your mouth, wash your
hands often, and keep far away from each other.
For many experts, large-scale diagnostic capacity was key to controlling the
epidemic in South Korea. Eusun Lee agrees. In the past, “We head the experience
of MERS (Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome) five years ago. At the time, the
[South] Korean government upgraded medical facilities in big hospitals.”
When Chinese scientists first published the COVID-19 virus' genetic sequence in
January, at least four South Korean firms quietly began developing and stockpiling
test kits alongside the government – well before the country had its first
outbreak. When things began to get worse, the authorities could test more than
10,000 people a day, even at makeshift drive-through testing centres and newly
The government has put in place the largest and most organized testing program in
the world, combined with extensive efforts to isolate infected people and track down
those who have come into contact with them. Since the start of the outbreak, the
authorities were able to set up 118 laboratories and 633 testing sites, including
pop-up facilities and drive-through clinics. The government set up dedicated
facilities for patients at different stages of the disease to reduce the burden on
Hotels and dormitories are used as makeshift wards and quarantine sites for
patients with mild symptoms, or suspected of infection under centralized
observation. The authorities track, isolate and monitor each individual case using
various technological tools: South Korean mobile phones vibrate with emergency
alerts whenever new cases are discovered in their districts. Websites and
smartphone apps detail hour-by-hour, sometimes minute-by-minute. People who
believe they may have crossed paths with a patient are urged to report to testing
centers. People ordered into self-quarantine must download another app, which
alerts officials if a patient ventures out of isolation. Fines for violations can reach,
500. South Korea brought the fight COVID-19 under controls because of the way
the authorities enlisted the public’s cooperation.
Ultimately, the most important lesson that other countries can learn from the
way South Korea is handling the emergency is the synergy between government
and people. For Prof Lee, this means “following the government [guidelines] and
staying at home.”