The coronavirus contagion causes ripple effects in the world economy. Many businesses are closing or slowing down, and as a result many people are jobless, underpaid and under stress.
But there are a few trying to step in to help.
For example, the Pinoy Mustang UAE (PMU) group of Filipinos who are owners of Mustang cars in the UAE are doing a relief drive to help those affected by coronavirus crisis.
PMU spokesperson Jo Hans Christian Bacordo, aviation senior operations specialist, who is based in Dubai said: “The aim of our group is for PMU members to have a bond like a family. We not only share the same passion about our cars but the same heart for the Filipino people in need.
No matter how small or big your contribution is, the most important is making a difference to the community.
Jo Hans Christian Bacordo, aviation senior operations specialist, Dubai.
"On our first year anniversary last January, we decided that instead of organising a party, we allocated our budget to feeding programs and providing relief goods for Taal volcano victims in the Philippines. Although contributing to the community is not something we plan, we just contribute when we can and when disaster arises such as this current COVID-19 crisis. It calls us spontaneously to help our kababayans (compatriots) both here in the UAE and back home in the Philippines.
"PMU members have chipped in cash for purchasing relief goods to be distributed here in the UAE and PPEs for our frontliners in the Philippines. So far in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Fujairah, we have delivered relief goods (consisting of 373 pieces of five kg rice with mix canned goods, noodles, snacks, and milk powder for the babies) to our kababayans in need. PMU members are doing our part and risking ourselves just to make sure our assistance will reach our fellow kababayans who are really affected of the crisis. No matter how small or big your contribution is, the most important is making a difference to the community."
Bacordo added that being able "to share our blessings with others is fulfilling".
Another FB group called Kabayan in UAE: Let's Fight Covid19 aims to help underprivileged individuals. Janice Camasura, HR/Accounts in Abu Dhabi who is organizing this account, along with her siblings, said: “In this tough situation that we are facing today because of coronavirus crisis, my brother, sister and her husband and I have initiated this to help needy Filipinos who are under visit and tourist visas, those who have three months unpaid leave, no work, no pay, who can hardly buy their basic needs such as rice, water, noodles and the likes.
"We, Camasura siblings, are from the poorest of the poor family from Mindanao in Philippines. We have experienced first-hand how it feels to have no rice at all for weeks and we only eat bananas and sweet potatos when we were young. We know how it feels to have nothing and the only thing we can do is to cry until we fell asleep. We strive hard, we finished college, and we are here in the UAE to support our parents and family in the Philippines. We knew we have the same reasons with other fellow Filipinos why they are here. But with this crisis, majority of the companies are closed, we know that hundreds if not thousands are in need right now. So we thought our simple help, hoping we all can survive this crisis. Together, fellow kabayans, we can fight COVID-19.
"Our mission is to help them in our own simple way. On our first batch of relief goods, we were able to helped 30 people in Abu Dhabi. We have gathered approximately Dh4,500 from our own pockets and donations from others for us to buy basic needs for distribution to Filipinos in Abu Dhabi. As of now, we just deliver to Abu Dhabi since it's hard to transport the relief goods to other emirates because of the disinfection drive and limited resources.
Together, fellow kabayans, we can fight COVID-19.
Janice Camasura, HR/Accounts in Abu Dhabi.
"But we know that hundreds more Filipinos really need our support and assistance. We want to help them all because we know how hard it is to survive in this crisis. Thus, I am knocking as well on kind-hearted people to help us by donating rice, noodles, canned goods, small cash for us to continue our mission of helping the Filipino community. Aside from relief goods, we would like to ask their prayers as well to keep us away from the virus. Since we are the ones going to the supermarkets to buy the goods, pack, prepare and distribute them to the less fortunate Filipinos. We believe that together we can survive this crisis."