2020 in Pictures: Mindanawons come to grips with COVID-19

When news started coming out of a virus spreading rapidly in China towards the end of last year, nobody predicted it would soon be a global problem. In the first two months of the year, Mindanawons were their usual selves, going about their daily lives.

And then by the second week of March, when Mindanao’s first COVID-19 patient (PH40) was brought to a hospital in Iligan City, then died at the Northern Mindanao Medical Center in neighboring Cagayan de Oro City, all hell broke loose.

Suddenly, local government units implemented lockdowns, everyone was required to wear a mask (then later, face shield as well), the young and the old were banned from going outside, medical personnel started wearing astronaut-like suits, and people were required to have quarantine pass, limiting non-essential movements.

The malls, churches, streets and other areas that are usually teeming with people suddenly went empty for months.

Life gradually tried to get back to normal, but couldn’t just yet, with the virus still around continually infecting people. Some tried adapting to a “New Normal,” but others could not. (MindaNews)

Participants of the Caraga Regional Athletic Meet wait for their respective boats at Dapa Port on March 11 en route to Surigao City, and then home. The Department of Education has cancelled the event, supposed to be held at the newly built Siargao Island Sports Complex, because of the threat posed by COVID-19 on big gatherings. MindaNews photo by ROEL N. CATOTO
Another early casualty of COVID-19 was the month-long Araw ng Dabaw celebration as Mayor Sara Duterte ordered its cancellation. City government personnel remove tarpaulins along Quezon Boulevard on March 18. MindaNews photo by MANMAN DEJETO
A security guard at a department store in Iligan City measures temperature of an incoming customer on March 14 as awareness suddenly rose with the news of MindanaoÕs first COVID-19 patient being admitted in a local hospital. MindaNews photo by BOBBY TIMONERA
A church in Davao City announces the temporary suspension of Masses starting March 15. MindaNews photo by MANMAN DEJETO
Travelers fill out a declaration form under the watchful eyes of a soldier at a checkpoint in Tinagacan, General Santos City on March 16. The form requires the name of the traveler, travel origin, destinations and other information for contact-tracing. MindaNews photo by ROMMEL G. REBOLLIDO
SM Uptown in Cagayan de Oro City is empty after Mayor Oscar Moreno ordered the closure of shopping malls starting March 17 as part of the measures to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. But establishments within the mall offering basic necessities like supermarkets, banks, pharmacies, hardware and restaurants with takeout or home delivery services remain open. MindaNews photo by FROILAN GALLARDO
Bus passengers join a queue for their body temperature to be taken with a thermal scanner in a checkpoint in Barangay Pisaan, San Francisco municipality in Agusan del Sur on March 16, a day before officials put the entire province under community quarantine. MindaNews photo by CHRIS V. PANGANIBAN
Despite the threat of infection and the Davao City governmentÕs campaign for Òsocial distancing,Ó excited Davaoe–os gather for an auction sale at a pawnshop in Toril on March 17. MindaNews photo by GREGORIO C. BUENO
A huge signage along Davao CityÕs Diversion Road reminds the public to maintain a two-meter distance under the cityÕs community quarantine guidelines for COVID-19. Photo taken March 18 by MANMAN DEJETO / MindaNews
The six-cock derby at the New Davao Matina Gallera on March 7, 10 and 12, which were pushed through despite cancellations of other Araw ng Dabaw events, was a COVID-19 Òsuperspreader,Ó with people shouting for hours inside an enclosed airconditioned area. MindaNews photo by GREGORIO C. BUENO
Soldiers unload personal protective equipment (PPE) and medical supplies from a Philippine Airforce C-130 plane that landed at the Awang Airport in Maguindanao on March 24. The supplies are intended for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) in its fight against COVID-19. MindaNews photo by FERDINANDH CABRERA
A health worker sprays disinfectant on the road and in the gates of houses at a subdivision in Barangay Del Carmen, Iligan City on March 30 as part of the cityÕs move to contain the spread of COVID-19. MindaNews photo by BOBBY TIMONERA
A motorcade brings the image of the Black Nazarene around the empty streets of Cagayan de Oro City during curfew hours on Good Friday, April 10, to seek its protection against COVID-19. Under normal times, a huge crowd would have joined the procession. MindaNews photo by FROILAN GALLARDO
FarmersÕ groups bring in their produce at the GSIS Heights covered court in Matina, Davao City on April 14 to bring the market closer to residents observing the Òenhanced community quarantine.Ó The ÒKadiwa on WheelsÓ program was initiated by the Department of Agriculture. MindaNews photo by GREGORIO C. BUENO
Jenelyn Arnejo, 34, rides her horse to buy goods at the public market in the municipality of San Francisco in Agusan del Sur on April 14. In the absence of passenger vehicles like the habalhabal as Agusan del Sur was put under enhanced community quarantine, Jenelyn instead took her horse to get to the town center, six kilometer away from her home in Sitio Cantagan in Barangay Lucac. MindaNews photo by CHRIS V. PANGANIBAN
There is nothing but emptiness on the street between the Sangguniang Panlungsod building and the San Pedro Cathedral in downtown Davao City. MindaNews photo taken April 15 by MANMAN DEJETO / MindaNews
General Santos Drive, the main thoroughfare of Koronadal City, is also deserted in this photo taken on April 19 as the city implements ÒNo Movement Sunday.Ó MindaNews photo by BONG S. SARMIENTO
Families in Bagumbayan in the municipality of Kauswagan in Lanao del Norte receive one 25-kg bag of rice each from the local government on April 30. MindaNews photo by RICHEL V. UMEL
A health worker in full protective gear gets blood sample for rapid mass testing at Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao on May 6. The rapid test is being provided by the provincial government for medical and local government frontliners, and for residents exposed to patients infected with COVID-19. Those found positive in the rapid test will then undergo a swab for the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test for confirmation. MindaNews photo by FERDINANDH CABRERA
A driver installs plastic partitions in his jeepney on May 15 as part of the measures against the spread of COVID-19, a day before public transportation resumes operation as Davao City shifts from enhanced community quarantine to general community quarantine. MindaNews photo
Personnel from the Philippine Coast Guard Station Lanao del Norte, 1003rd Philippine Coast Guard Auxiliary and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Lanao del Norte field office hand out food assistance to a fisherman affected by the quarantine in Iligan City on May 19. MindaNews photo by RICHEL V. UMEL
A usual scene in Davao CityÕs major streets (photo taken May 26) as the number of bikers rises after Davao City was placed under general community quarantine. MindaNews photo
Nurses and medical personnel of the Northern Mindanao Medical Center are all smiles after members of the Cagayan de Oro Filipino-Chinese Fire Brigade honored them by blasting the sirens of their fire trucks on June 1. In the early months, the hospital was the only medical facility that handled COVID-19 cases in Northern Mindanao. MindaNews photo by FROILAN GALLARDO
On June 8, personnel from Barangay Carmen in Cagayan de Oro City spray disinfectant along Dabatian Street where a 34-year-old female who died of COVID-19 resided. Health and police officials have cordoned two blocks in Dabatian Street and advised residents to quarantine themselves for 14 days. MindaNews photo by FROILAN GALLARDO
Health personnel from the Cotabato Sanitarium in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao swab 405 rerouted locally stranded individuals (LSIs) bound for the island provinces of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-tawi during the wee hours of July 10. The LSIs from Metro Manila were given a roundabout route by the government as they were boarded on a boat bound for Cagayan de Oro City. BARMM authorities dispatched 17 buses to fetch the LSIs, then brought to Maguindanao before sending them home. Seventy-nine of them tested positive of COVID-19. MindaNews photo by FERDINANDH CABRERA
A steel fence separates the Lamoco family in Barangay 35, Cagayan de Oro City on July 13. The mother of the boy (right) has to stay outside the lockdown area in order to work and find food for her son and her parents. If she stays inside the quarantine area she will not be allowed to go outside. They will be separated for at least 14 days during the quarantine period set by the city government after one of their neighbors was found to be positive of COVID-19. MindaNews photo by FROILAN GALLARDO
Thousands of locally stranded individuals gather at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex in Manila on July 24 and 25 to await transport back to their provinces through the Hatid Tulong Program. Most of those waiting for a ride home are Mindanawons. MindaNews photo
A neighborhood store alerts customers on the reimposition of the liquor ban in Digos City effective August 1 to 15. Many areas in Mindanao have imposed liquor ban to discourage people from gathering. MindaNews photo by ERIC SB LIBRE
Army and police personnel man a checkpoint in Barangay Cabitoonan, General Luna in Siargao Island on August 5 as health authorities declared a five-day Òtemporary complete lockdownÓ in the village after four residents tested positive of COVID-19. MindaNews photo by ROEL N. CATOTO
Aside from face masks, commuters in Cagayan de Oro are required to wear face shields as they boarded a jeepney with plastic partitions on August 17. MindaNews photo by FROILAN GALLARDO
ÒBasta may maigalaw, may pag-asa (As long as you can move, there is always hope),Ó says wheelchair-bound Richell Istoleho, 53, as he braves traffic, with face mask and shield on, selling oranges along the busy streets of General Santos City on August 31. MindaNews Photo by ROMMEL G. REBOLLIDO
Two Maranao women wear their face masks and shields and appropriate color coded quarantine passes as they walk the streets of Tambacan, Iligan City on September 8. An armored vehicle of the ArmyÕs 2nd Mechanized Infantry Brigade patrols the area to remind residents to follow health protocols as the city was placed under Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine because of the surge of local COVID-19 cases. MindaNews photo by RICHEL V. UMEL
Amid a downpour, a Badjao child in Cagayan de Oro City helps an elderly board a bus that would take them back to their hometowns in Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-tawi on September 11. The city government repatriated 130 Badjaos after their community ended a 14-day quarantine when one of them contracted COVID-19. MindaNews photo by FROILAN GALLARDO
After six months of closure due to the COVID-19 community quarantines, the Roxas Night Market in Davao City reopened on September 12 with strict health protocols implemented to prevent the spread of the highly contagious disease. Temperature checks are done and only those with face masks and shields are allowed in. But at the entrance, they have to remove these briefly to show their faces to authorities. A handwashing station has been made available. MindaNews photo by GREGORIO C. BUENO
Members of Elian Bangsamoro Women and Youth Producers Cooperative in Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Maguindanao weave mats, bags, sandals and other products made from dried and dyed pandan leaves to overcome economic difficulties brought by the COVID-19 pandemic. The cooperative gets support from Islamic Relief Australia. MindaNews photo taken October 2 by JULES BENITEZ
A Grade 3 pupil attends an online class evening of October 14 in Malaybalay City. Schools have adopted distance learning to prevent the further spread of COVID-19. MindaNews photo by H. MARCOS C. MORDENO
Members of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority discuss the fate of the proposed Bangsamoro Administrative Code during special session at the Shariff Kabunsuan Complex in Cotabato City on October 28, complete with face masks and shields as the whole world deal with the spread of COVID-19. MindaNews photo by FERDINANDH CABRERA
A vendor rushes arrangement of flowers near the entrance of the Davao Memorial Park on October 28, the last day allowed for Davao City residents to visit cemeteries. Mayor Sara Duterte has ordered cemeteries closed from October 28 until November 4 to avoid mass gathering as the city grapples with the increasing number of COVID-19 cases. MindaNews photo by GREGORIO C. BUENO
Davao City residents who do not have smartphones and printers at home queue at a print shop at the Centerpoint in Matina on November 4 to seek assistance in registering in the cityÕs contact-tracing system, the ÒSafe Davao QR.Ó The city government has required residents and visitors to enroll in the DQR to hasten contact-tracing. MindaNews photo by GG BUENO
The Maguindanao Integrated Provincial Health Office and the Islamic Relief Worldwide-Philippines conduct handwashing campaign as basic infection prevention control strategy versus the spread of COVID-19 in selected villages in Maguindanao. Photo taken on November 10 in barangay Tuayan Mother, Datu Hoffer Ampatuan municipality. MindaNews photo by JULES L. BENITEZ