EMPATHS. Herochers Team of Tanauan City crosses a part of Taal Lake on a boat to bring relief goods to the underprivileged families in Sitio Mahabang Buhangin on April 24, 2020. PHOTO COURTESY OF Catalina Ramos

by Catalina Ramos

When the poor were still working pre-pandemic period, they already had difficulty providing the daily needs of their families. What more now that ECQ would be implemented?

These were the thoughts of Kristhel Lumban and Rodrigo Guelos of La Consolacion College in Tanauan City, and Catalina Ramos of Bangkal Elementary School in Makati City, upon hearing the directive of President Rodrigo Duterte to place the entire Luzon under the Enhanced Community Quarantine on March 16, 2020.

“Poor families were placed more than in ECQ. The hurting reality is that adults can sacrifice, but what about the young ones, the moment they feel their empty stomachs?” Lumban said showing empathy to the plight of the underprivileged people.

Checkpoints became visible in each entry and exit point in Tanauan as the barangay roads had been closed.

“This killer virus has no exact cure yet; no medicine, no vaccine, no known cure. Everyone is affected, countless lives were expired, vast frontliners were exposed,” Guelos quipped.

Lumban, Guelos, and Ramos, who all hailed from Tanauan City, took then an initiative to help in their own little way by giving a simple appreciation to the frontliners of Tanauan – the barangay tanod, barangay health workers, and the policemen on-duty in their respective checkpoints.

The Herochers gave their first wave of appreciation token – a cup, an instant coffee, a biscuit, few candies, ribbon and a prayer, to 100 frontliners in the city on April 21, 2020.

This appreciation token was noticed by a private concerned citizen who donated PHP 50,000.00 to help the Herochers conduct another wave, an assistance for a hundred families in Tanauan who are considered the poorest of the poor.

On April 24 and 25, the Herochers gave the relief goods they prepared – 5kls. of rice, 1.5L of cooking oil, 1/2  kg of sugar, 25g of coffee, a bottle of soy sauce and vinegar, and a pack of biscuits, to the poor families of Sitio Mahabang Buhangin, Brgy. Boot, Brgy, BilogBilog, Brgy. Luyos, Brgy. Sambat, Brgy, Darasa, Brgy. Trapiche, and Poblacion 1.

A day after, 136 frontliners received token of appreciation from the group – an apple, a thank you note, a ribbon, and a prayer; and 125 more received a pack of longganisa.

The Herochers expressed appreciation of the frontliners, who like heroes, answered their call of duty and serve amid the pandemic.

“Our frontliners are our new set of heroes and teachers, our herochers. They protect us and teach us the new normal of the community as this pandemic is not yet over,” Ramos said unhesitant of sharing their name to the other heroes of the crisis.

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