Because senior citizens are prohibited from going out of their homes due to the prevailing quarantine measures, a group of youth officials in the Surigao del Norte town of Bacuag has taken errands for the elderly in the area like buying medicines for them.

“Since April this year, our residents, including the senior citizens, experienced difficulties in buying their medicines and vitamins, and especially those for their maintenance,” Gil Ladaga Melo, the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) chairperson of Poblacion Bacuag, told the Philippine News Agency on Friday (Oct. 23).

Melo said their volunteer work is especially crucial for seniors living alone, who could not go out of their homes even for the most basic task such as buying food.

Top photo: YOUTH IN ACTION. Members of the Sangguniang Kabataan of Poblacion Bacuag in Surigao del Norte, led by chairperson Gil Ladaga Melo (2nd from left), buy medicines and other essentials for senior citizens of the town who are affected by the Covid-19 movement restrictions. The youth officials see their volunteer work getting more crucial as the town records increasing cases recently. (Photo courtesy of SK Poblacion Bacuag)

Surigao del Norte has recently tightened its movement restrictions following a steady increase in the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases.

“Even the other residents here cannot easily go out and go to Surigao City or other towns to buy medicines,” Melo said.

He clarified that their project, dubbed as “Mobile Botika sa Barangay,” is not a mobile store per se for medicines, “but a scheme where SK volunteers buy the needed medicines of the residents and deliver (these) to their doorsteps.”

Since its launch in April, the youth official said the initiative has already assisted more than 400 senior citizens.

“We utilize the rescue vehicle of the barangay to buy these medicines. Of course, we still need to go through protocols and present pertinent papers before we are allowed to enter Surigao City to buy medicines,” he added.

Aside from medicines, youth volunteers also buy hygiene kits, disinfectants, and other essential needs for the elderly.

Melo said the program is a collaboration of the SK and the members of the barangay council of Poblacion Bacuag.

“Buying of medicines is scheduled twice a month. We send notices to our constituents two to three days before the buying so that they can prepare their money for the purchase of medicines,” Melo explained.

On Wednesday, Mayor Felicisimo C. Cebedo tightened movement in the town following the “sudden increase of (local) transmission cases for Covid-19 in Barangay Poblacion Bacuag in a very short span of time.”

According to Cebedo, the town had 17 confirmed cases as of Wednesday, six of which were active and located in the Poblacion area.

Melo said the rising cases made the initiative even more necessary and assured that SK officials will continue to strictly follow all the necessary health protocols to protect themselves from being infected.

“We will continue to serve the residents of Poblacion amid this health crisis. As we render services, we, too, are mindful of our safety and assure our families and friends that we are following quarantine protocols and measures for protection,” Melo said. (Alexander Lopez, PNA)