How the Pandemic Changed Me

© Moira G. Gallaga

I believe it is already a given that the world and a lot of things in our lives are not going to be the same after this Covid-19 pandemic. Perhaps there will be an effort to restore a semblance of normalcy and to regain the life that was before the pandemic, but I doubt if we could really recapture that fully intact. For one, this pandemic and what it has wrought this past year has affected me significantly on a personal level and I am quite conscious of changes it has brought about in me as a person.

I started helping out in my own way since the start of First ECQ on 15 March 2020. Resumed again this year when we go back to ECQ and MECQ in April 2021.

The fear is not for me but for my family and loved ones generated by the threat posed by the virus has forced me to reflect on life in general. Then there is the death toll, and we are not just talking about the numbers, we are talking about our family, people we know or loved ones of friends, relatives and colleagues. It makes one re-assess one’s priorities in life. I suddenly found myself no longer caring about material things, and have slowly adopted a more practical and minimalist mindset. It’s no longer about what I want to buy, but about places, things and stuff to do, experience, see, taste, hear, smell and feel.

This experience has further made me touch deeper into my spiritual self. A renewed connection with my faith and with God. A newfound appreciation of the daily blessing of being alive, to be given another crack at life upon waking. I say a prayer of thanks at the start of my day and at its end. I guess in a time and condition that makes us feel very vulnerable, our faith serves as our armor.

I didn’t ask for any photos, this was sent to me by the caterer.

The pandemic has also forced us into isolation and severely restricted our movements, and this is more pronounced for me as I have my health condition and being a wanderer at heart I’m not used to being constricted in one place, much so in a tiny condo unit. Yet, I found myself expanding and reactivating my network of friends and contacts. Thanks to technology I have been reconnecting with childhood friends from my elementary, high school and university days. I have gained new friends through online social interaction, whether through academic webinars, or simply engaging on topics of interest. Not to mention all the freelance gigs I’ve been getting since the start of ECQ last March 2020.

While I have also been actively involved in doing volunteer work as I like helping out people, I have had to adjust the manner by which I seek to carry this out. I would normally join a group and be in the thick of the action, onsite, helping out together with similar minded friends and people. Now, with limitations on my movement for health and safety reasons, I contribute where and when I can. This means helping those in close proximity, such as providing food for all the workers (guards, maintenance, housekeeping, reception and admin) in our condo building. We sent them meals during the times the city was under ECQ, MECQ and every time there’s a typhoon. We resumed it again starting last month when we went back to ECQ and then to MECQ. Also, provided food for several healthcare workers in UP Diliman because the caterer lives near the area. I would support local entrepreneurs by patronizing their products, which is usually food. If there’s a lesson to be learned from this crisis, one is that we are all in this together. We will only overcome this pandemic as a community working together and helping each other out.

So whatever happens to the world around us after all this, whether it will return to normal or not, things will definitely not be the same for me because I am no longer exactly the same person before it.

04 May 2021

WANTED: Informed Citizenry

© Moira G. Gallaga

I miss college days where we enjoyed hours of exchanging ideas without fear of being branded with any political leanings and to be able to do so in front of instructor/s who appreciates lively and intelligent discussion. I miss the honest take of students, how they react to a situation presented to him/her based on their knowledge of the subject, the reaction as a Filipino and as a citizen mindful of his/her social responsibility to this country. 

I hope we can conduct discussions like this without attributing political motivation or being judged as pro or anti government, but rather as informed and involved citizens who are exercising our rights to determine our destiny in a democracy.

A man may be loyal to his government and yet oppose the particular principles and methods of administration.- Abraham Lincoln

When do we begin to start to trust our Constitution and institutions? Let us be honest with ourselves here, when will we Filipinos unanimously say we have the right leader or when will we ever get the right leader? The answer is in strengthening our institutions, allowing it to work and become more relevant than the people who are elected and chosen to run them so that governing/governance is no longer about the leader but about the office and institution that they represent. Strong institutions require transparency and meritocracy and helps ensure proper discharge of duties and responsibilities. This is what we should be doing, not simply just continually looking or hoping to elect the right leader or our political messiah. That’s like trying to win the lotto instead of doing an honest day’s work. 

We are so personality oriented and react within that context and that is why we end up in this vicious cycle of being taken for granted all the time by people in authority. We are a democracy, but we don’t trust our democratic institutions such as the judiciary, the law enforcement authorities, our electoral process, and government in general. What does that say about us as a country and a people? Yes, things are very intense and uncertain but if we don’t begin to place a bit of trust into our institutions and allow them to work and just simply go on and continue to second-guess motives and speculate on what could be, then we deserve to be continually stuck in this vicious political paralysis that we have been in for many years now.

It will take time and there is a long, long way to go but we should be able to grow out of our tendency to worship at the altar of personality and be ruled by our emotions and begin to demand and expect more from those we elect to lead us. 

It is our responsibility to be an informed citizen…So asking about the process or raising questions doesn’t mean you’re against or pro-government, it is a means to achieve understanding. As they say, only a dead fish flows with the current. We have the right to ask and should not be judged for our queries, but rather on our actions. In the Philippines, we are too personality oriented and we tend to allow emotions to rule rather than logic and intellect. People take stands according to the protagonists involved, not on the merits or demerits of the issue at hand. Critical thinking and objectivity gets drowned out by partisanship. We must rise above this in order to become more responsible and informed citizens so that politics can be lifted from the muck where it currently resides.

If you do not take an interest in the affairs of your government, then you are doomed to live under the rule of fools.” – Plato

Being very much aware of our history, whose fault will it be in the event we allow history to repeat itself and for the failure to break this cycle of our political development? This will be a reflection of our political maturity (or lack of it) as a people and a nation if this happens.

So yes, let us be vigilant and keep a close watch so there is no abuse. 

A leap of faith and then keep the faith. ©


Regardless of how one feels about the Leader, one MUST at all times RESPECT the Institution – Office of the President

03 May 2021

Misguided Brilliance

© Moira G. Gallaga

Our crafty hands and mechanical minds
have built a wide world awash in wonders,
but our cleverness has us in a bind
as our achievements turn into blunders.

Never insult nature with bad poetry. She retaliates by confusing you,changing her climate, ways of being, so that your words can’t grasp her anymore. (Istanbul, Turkey)

Take the industrial revolution,
a well-deserved homage to iron and steel,
but we didn’t know that air pollution
would change our planet’s entire look and feel.

As we leisurely assess the damage,
impersonal clipboards and pens in hand,
we seem to have crossed out the old adage:
burning bridges leaves so little dry land.

I’m all for taking risks, but I don’t mess with nature and face its wrath. (Salamanca, Spain)

As we torch the sky and all beneath it,
let’s write our planet a lovely obit.

02 May 2021

Extradition The official surrender of an alleged criminal by one state or nation to another.

© Moira G. Gallaga

FEATURED

Posted on 

I wonder why Snowden hasn’t considered a number of African countries, the Guardian graphic shows quite a number of countries in that region don’t have an extradition treaty with the US. However, it isn’t only about the existence of an extradition treaty or not. The absence of an extradition treaty doesn’t guarantee he won’t be turned over. Snowden must be careful in choosing his refuge. If it is to that country’s interest to turn him over to the US, they will do so. Snowden must take into account how much leverage the US has over his potential sanctuary because the Americans will definitely use it to get him back. – Moira G Gallaga©

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/interactive/2013/jul/02/guardian-guide-extradition-interactive

Mother’s View on Security

© Moira G. Gallaga

I’ve always been very particular of security wherever I go. I’m one of those persons who sit against the wall when eating in a restaurant where I can see everything going on around me. Being the only girl in the family, growing up in a province saturated with NPA and political violence, I was trained to be aware of my surroundings. Then came training at work, and more so now that I have an 11 year old who now goes out and hang out with his friends, watch movie, do laser tag and their meeting place is usually a MALL.

I always believed that malls, hotels, condominiums should and must invest properly for their security. People expect to have the assurance of a decent level of security in these establishments. With the recent incident at Robinson’s Galleria and increasing incidents of crime, it’s really about time that these establishments review their current security set-up. When people go out to the mall, with family or friends, they expect to enjoy and have a good time. Part of that involves feeling secure in the environment. Especially as a mother when my son goes out with his friends, I want to know and feel assured that he is safe.

Photo via cebujournal.com

Of course, security is never foolproof. If someone is really determined, that person can cause problems or endanger people no matter how tight security is in a particular establishment. However, implementation of proper security measures, utilization of properly trained professionals and equipment can help minimize the chances of an incident. We always look to the police to deal with criminality and to ensure public safety. While it is their responsibility, having well trained and competent private security firms will help complement the efforts of the police and enhance the general security environment. 

The local security industry is not without professionals who know the business and have the proper background and training to provide security services of a high standard. Perhaps it is time to start placing focus on this aspect of the industry, to start listening to, and provide industry leaders and professionals the opportunity to raise the standards of the private security industry in the country. 

31 March 2012