Fairplay Coronavirus Update 4: Metro Manila Lockdown Extended

It’s now one month into the lockdown here in Metro Manila and the biggest update for you is that the lockdown has been officially extended until the end of April. Given the lack of mass testing and treatment facilities available, a further extension is highly possible and we must be prepared for that case.

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This was our third week distributing relief goods to the families of our scholars. With additional families of our regular football players and those joining our social clubs (youth group, EQ club), we were able to distribute to 88 families yesterday again.

This time the food package included:

  • 5kg of rice
  • 1kg of monggo
  • 1kg of pumpkin
  • 1kg of sweet potato
  • 1kg of cabbage
  • 1kg of string beans

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We would also like to thank our Payatas-based staff who were able to buy the food from the local market, pack it into the 88 family packs, and then distribute it to each family. As well as of course express gratitude to our supporters and backers for enabling us to do this.

As you can see from the pictures in this update, each family signs for the delivery also, ensuring proper recording of the delivery and ensuring your support goes where it should. Each week this will be necessary until the end of the lockdown, with almost no-one in the area able to work during the lockdown. Thanks to everyone’s support and our hard-working team, we will be able to do this for the duration of the lockdown – even with further extensions.

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An Uncertain Future

What happens next is still uncertain. The lockdown has been muddled and ineffective. Different guidelines continue to be issued from different departments, and the barangay are struggling to police the lockdown while also being unable to offer any testing or treatment during this time.

People are returning to the streets with homes far too small and hot for the entire family to stay in 24/7. It’s worth noting further that many families in the area struggle with domestic violence, and this remains a challenge with no easy solution at this stage.

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What Will We Do Next?

We will also launch the Payatas Paper, which will be a weekly newspaper written by our Fairplay Scholars. With articles, features, and special items, this is something  our students can contribute towards, with online meetings and collaboration ensuring they stay within the confines of the lockdown. We will release the first edition next week.

Financially, the government announcement of the Social Amelioration Program means families may soon be able to receive P5,000-P8,000 during the lockdown. The availability of forms and procedures involved remain uncertain, but we will be helping our staff and our families through this process. If they are able to receive this financial stipend for life under quarantine, then basic needs will be far more secure during this time. The bureaucracy involved remains a big challenge, though we will continue to provide updates on the situation as things become clearer.

We are discussing a number of other possibilities and options, including reopening the Cafe for the whole community providing we are allowed to by the barangay. Once we can act on those we will provide you with updates.

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How Can You Help?

At Fairplay, we have been incredibly fortunate to have many great supporters during this time. We are very grateful for your trust, your belief, and your support. We are no longer asking for donations towards relief goods for our families and remain committed to providing the basic needs of our families under lockdown.

We maintain the best support would be for the medical frontliners to widely test and treat this virus. Some countries were able to stop the spread of the virus without needing a lockdown at all, and while many other countries needed to implement a lockdown, it is the testing and treatment that will end the pandemic. As noted by the head of the WHO, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, “We cannot stop this pandemic if we don’t know who is infected”.

If you know people with access to testing kits, then please do get in contact as the biggest support right now would be establishing a separate testing site in Quezon City (Payatas is part of Quezon City, one of the cities that makes up Metro Manila). We are keen to understand how it would be possible to increase production and establish a separate testing site in QC.

Once the lockdown period is over we will be able to announce how we can support our families and improve our communities. We have some exciting ideas, plans, and updates for this. However none of that can be done during the lockdown.

So in the meantime, please stay safe, take care of yourselves and your loved ones, and as the old saying goes, in times of crisis look for the helpers. There will always be helpers. We are grateful for those who are helping us, for our team who continue to help our community, and we know that there is hope and potential for us all to come out of this crisis stronger.

This is why the biggest way you can help is to ensure that when things do ‘go back to normal’, we make sure that they are better than before. How can we ensure our healthcare system can cope with the next outbreak? How can we ensure government action and support will be better handled next time? How can we ensure families do not go back to being one missed paycheck away from going without food or healthcare? How can we ensure that our communities have more resiliency and support to care for one another?

After all we don’t want to go back to normal after this. Normal wasn’t working. We want to improve what normal will be once this is all over.

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