Affecting the lives of people in the country, this pandemic known as COVID-19 continue to spread. In the Philippines, as number of cases increases, the government declares the country under the State of Public Health Emergency imposing several measures preventing the virus from spreading.

Following the National Government, province of Bohol imposed an “Intensified Community Quarantine” in which not only people travelling in and out of the Island province are being stopped, but also suspension of classes and temporarily closing of businesses and commercial establishments. Grocery stores, money banks, and pharmacies are some of the establishments that are excepted on the temporary closing for they are our sole provider on this time of crisis. Thus, this greatly affects a number of employees.

Understanding the need of people in this time of crisis, Tzu Chi volunteers lead their way to Tzu Chi Great Love Village, Urban Poor communities, Aeta Tribes, Tricycle Drivers to provide aid by giving 5-kilo rice and bundles of vegetables. In some hospitals in Tagbilaran, fresh vegetables were also given that will be served on their meals.

Under the urban poor communities of Bohol, the household of Anita Quibida is one of the families who suffered from this misfortune. Anita and her family who is living in a squatter area and earning below the minimum wage was greatly affected by this crisis. “I am very thankful to Tzu Chi for giving us aid. This is really a big help to my family especially now that we have no income due to this crisis. This rice and vegetables will suffice the needs of my family for almost three-days”. Anita stated.

Due to temporary closing of establishments and one-meter physical distancing policy, breadwinners who work as tricycle drivers are also been greatly affected. A 60-year-old Winses Lao Asuncion, a tricycle driver for almost 16 years with seven children was grateful of receiving assistance. “I have known Tzu Chi for years and I have been encouraging my co-drivers to donate up until now. We actually didn’t expect that this time of crisis especially to tricycle drivers, Tzu Chi is there to help us”. Winses said. “It is really true what Tzu Chi had said to us during our first meeting years ago. If we share our blessings to people who are mostly in need, a time will come that we will also be receiving a help in return. As the president of our Tricycle Drivers’ Association, I am very thankful for receiving a help from Tzu Chi. This is really a big to help to my family’s daily needs. Thank you Tzu Chi for continuous good relationship towards the tricycle drivers”. He gratefully added.

On the other hand, Aeta tribe is one of the communities which are also affected of this current situation. Most of the support to their daily needs is the income they get from giving entertainment to the tourists and due to this pandemic; all tourist destinations in Bohol are being closed including the floating cottage where most of the Aetas work.

Pastor Henry Pauden, a representative of the tribe shows his gratitude of the assistance they received. “I really thank God for he has send his instruments in helping the needy. We are very affected of this current crisis for we cannot work due to the temporary closing of all tourist destinations. We are very grateful to Tzu Chi Foundation that they gave us vegetables. I am hoping that the aid given by Tzu Chi – Bohol will not stop to us, Aetas, but also to more vulnerable people in and out of our tribe. So, I am thanking to Tzu Chi – Bohol for not forgetting us in this time of crisis. We, the Aeta Tribe, are heartily giving thanks to you for everything we received that gives our community such a great help”. Henry stated.

With the help of all the donors, Tzu Chi Bohol were able to share warm love to people who has nothing but to wait until this pandemic stops.

As Master Cheng Yen reminds everyone that after the pandemic is brought under control we truly must take action to bring relief to the poor around the world. And, at such a time when everyone needs to keep a safe distance from each other, we must also work even harder to inspire love and sincere piety in all.

Now, we should keep bringing aid to those suffering around the world. Reach out to those who have long been suffering from poverty; those who are suffering from hunger.