News from the Philippines

Interview of Rod Babiera Jr. from the Philippines 

Could you tell us more about you?

Hi! My name is Rodrigo Babiera Jr. but you can call me Rod for short. I’m 32 years old. I live and grew up in Payatas, a poor barangay (village) in Quezon City Philippines. 
I started my involvement with Fondacio in the Philippines since November 2007 when I attended the Value-based English Proficiency and Computer Literacy Program of Fondacio in Payatas. Then after I volunteer in the program by assisting in computer tutorial, administration work and helping in facilitating sharing and prayer time.
I got engaged with Fondacio further when I attended the formation in the Institute of Formation Fondacio Asia -IFFAsia in 2009. Then become intern-scholar, then later become part of the staff helping in the administrative work and formation.

How long as the lockdown been installed in the Philippines?

The lockdown was officially announced and implemented in March 15 – April 15, but it has been extended to April 30, 2020

How are you living it?

I am following the Enhance Community Quarantine Protocol in our barangay (village), we only go out the house if really necessary and take precautionary measures when going out and coming inside the house. 

What does it change in Fondacio? Any concrete example. For IFFAsia?

Of course one obvious change in Fondacio in this time is that we have tried different application in the internet to communicate to one another like in meetings we uses zoom, messenger call, skype and even in IFFAsia we have adapted doing online classes through video calls and tried using online platforms. 
 We also re-scheduled the courses, we are blessed and grateful that we have in-house formators who really have done a lot in ensuring both the program and the participants are taking care of.

What can you think of positive about this particular time?

1.    Many have said and I also believe one positive effect of this particular time is that our Mother Earth is now able to rest. Less movement of people - less pollution. 
2.    This time also allows family to be together and spend time. 
3.    This time also allows us to spend lent in a more meaningful way, more time for prayer and charity 

How do you plan to celebrate the Holy Week and Easter while staying at home? 

I participated in online Services (Triduum) 

What is the hardest about the lockdown for you?

The hardest about this lockdown for me is being anxious about the safety and health of my family members especially those who work as Frontliners like my mother and younger sister who works as a barangary (Village) health Worker, My father and my younger brother who works as Fire Truck Driver and Fire Crew, and my Brother-in-law who works in a meat shop. 

What is the situation like for less privileged people in the Philippines?

It is very challenging for them especially those who are ‘no work no pay’. They don’t have money to buy food for their family and the only option that they do is really wait for the support of the local government unit, generous organizations, individuals and their neighbors. 
At some point its very difficult for them because the support from the government takes very long time before reaching them, but it's good that the churches and different NGO’s are really mobilizing themselves to be of help to the less privileged or poorest of the poor.

What do you plan on doing when you will be able to leave your house?

I plan to go back to the IFFAsia office to work

Do you work from home?

Yes, but the work is very limited. (One thing also challenging for me is that I don’t have internet in my house, I also uses mobile data which is not really strong at times)

What do you think Christians should do while having the opportunity to do a lot of good things?

If and When we have opportunity to help of course we are called to be of service to others. 

What is your typical day schedule during lockdown?

I wake up around 7 or 8 in the morning and offer a morning prayer, then have breakfast while watching the news. Then prepare myself for some online meetings, if there is no meeting, I clean the house, do some gardening, and/or help in the repair of our house. Sometimes  I do some marketing and I help taking care of my nieces. 

Thank you Rod ! Have a great day !

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