Overseas Bayanihan fervor amid Covid19


BalikBayani République | Tony Alabastro

Fellow Filipinos overseas keep the Bayanihan spirit aflame in Covid times as they stay home, keep safe and stay healthy and avail of vaccinations.

“With the Filipino Association to act as centralized authority in collecting (online) community donations which the Philippine Embassy in Brunei will use to purchase food packages, we are given a chance to pursue our Bayanihan,” says FA President Malou Ramos-Wong.

Filipinos help each other raise funds, send food and medicine and financial help to pandemic-affected kababayan, says Philippine Ambassador to Indonesia Lee Hiong Wee.

The Philippine Embassy in Jakarta assisted the repatriation of the remains of some Filipinos who have succumbed to Covid19 and disbursed funds from the Department of Foreign Affairs assistance funds. Over 50 Filipinos have been hospitalized for Covid and 10 died since the start of pandemic, says Vice Consul Jacqueline Arquiza.

“Ambassador Wee set up a group social media groups in Viber and WhatsApp to enhance fast or quick communications among Filipino expatriates,” says Rodolfo “Rudy” Balmater, vice chairman, Philippine Business Club Indonesia.

There are 8,000 OFWs in Indonesia.

To promote export of Philippine Halal products through government to government arrangement, Philippines and Indonesia are in the latter stages of forging an agreement, Ambassador Wee added.

A project between Philippine Department of Tourism and the Brunei Darussalam–Indonesia–Malaysia–Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) is “Halal Culinary Tourism” during Eid al-Adha (Feast of Sacrifice) and featuring Mindanao’s best Halal-certified food.

Meanwhile, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that will promote and encourage scientific and technological cooperation in Halal (permissible) development was recently signed between the Philippines and Indonesia.

The MOU promotes scientific and technological cooperation research and development, scientists, experts and researchers exchange, knowledge sharing, and human resource development on Halal stand-ards and Halal verification and testing between Department of Science and Technology-Industrial Technology Development Institute

(DOST-ITDI), DOST Region XI and Indonesia’s Universitas Ahmad Dahlan (Halal Centre).

Indonesia, once Asia’s coronavirus epicenter, recently reported its lowest new daily Coronavirus infections since August 2020 as government eased further restrictions.

New cases dropped 98 percent from their July peak in Indonesia, with nearly 4.2 million infections overall and over 140,000 deaths.

Indonesia is in talks with World Health Organization to be a global hub for manufacturing vaccines.

Brunei has strict protocols restricting physical contact and social gatherings in a partial lockdown since August 7 when the first locally transmitted cases were detected in 15 months.

At least 56 percent of Brunei residents are fully vaccinated with two-dose regimen.

An 18-day-old baby becomes Brunei’s youngest person diagnosed with mild symptoms, along with a month-old infant, as tighter restrictions loom following the Delta-fueled second wave.

Noting a rise in household cluster cases, “people are flaunting guideline much as holding karaoke parties and other social gathering and making non-essential outings,” reports Ministry of Health.

“Families are reported to hold physical prayers ceremonies for the deceased and organizing weddings with staggered arrival times at separate venues.”

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