In spite of the challenges the country is facing regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, every day, we are reminded that the virus has not only caused so much heartbreak and discord, but it has shown us the very best of humanity.

We see these in stories of triumph over adversity, in the spread of positivity, and in the small acts of kindness that touch which remind us that people are truly good if they have the opportunity to prove it.

Here’s a story from a person with disability (PWD) in Bugallon, Pangasinan who shared how the government extended an act of kindness to her in this time of pandemic.

“I am a PWD for being chronically ill (rheumatoid arthritis) for five years already and I am literally dependent on medicines. Prior to the issuance of guidelines for PWDs during the enhanced community quarantine, my husband and I were having a hard time and really desperate on how to purchase my medicine. One of my maintenance is under strict prohibition and today is my refill. Without this med, I will fall ill and I will experience difficulty in breathing,” she told the Philippine Information Agency.

Her husband is not allowed to go to Dagupan City, where the medicine is available, as he was still on quarantine and she, being on an immunocompromised state is indeed a dilemma.

“Among my relatives, no one is qualified to go and buy it for me. They don’t have pass slip, license to drive, another one is a senior citizen and my other uncle has a baby,” she said.

Then, she chatted their Municipal Registrar, Mrs. Karen Grace Ilano to ask about her situation.

“We are not related, and even it is not part of her job description to do so, she solved my problem right away. She called the Rural Health Unit (RHU) and told me that I should bring my medical prescription there and once somebody will go to Dagupan they will purchase it for me,” she added.

“Thus, I went to the RHU and I explained my situation. Sadly, an ambulance already left and I will not go into details anymore but I received a negative answer. I felt like crying and speechless. I messaged Ma’am Karen and thanked her for her effort and for trying to help me. I already accepted that I have to get by and pray that I won’t get sick until my husband will be able to secure his clearance and pass slip, which only God knows when,” she shared.

“Yet, Ma’am Karen is indeed a Good Samaritan and an excellent government employee for she did not stop there. She personally called our Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management Officer, Mr. Amado John Jefferson Espino and she told me to wait for him because his office is willing to buy my medicine for me,” she gladly narrated.

“At this moment, I was informed by Ma’am Karen that they already bought my medicine and therefore I won’t skip taking it tonight,” she said as a way of expressing her gratitude to this act of kindness which she described as a “lifesaver.”

“I want to spread the word that there are indeed good people and public servants here in Bugallon who are genuinely compassionate and willing to serve,” she cited.

In connection to this, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) issued a Memorandum Circular No. 2020-066 entitled Guidelines on Providing Proper Welfare of PWDs during the Enhanced Community Quarantine due to the COVID-19 Pandemic on March 31.

“This move of the government is an answered prayer for people like me. And for those PWD like me, we should be thankful to the DILG for coming up with these guidelines to help us during these trying times,” she said.

“We do not ask for special treatment but we have limited movement even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. In these challenging times, kindly extend a helping hand when a person with the same situation like me approaches you. To the rest of government officials out there, I hope you are well-informed regarding this memo and you will do the monitoring of PWDs as one of the provisions stated,” she appealed.

As the coronavirus outbreak spreads to more countries, so does solidarity among people everywhere.

Aside from sharing this act of kindness, this story is also a call for the government to consider the specific needs of PWDs when developing prevention strategies.

This will ensure that nobody is left behind of the COVID-19 response. (April Bravo, PIA Ilocos Sur)