Photos courtesy of Jennifer Magno, president of Purok Green in Barangay Poblacion, Tampakan, South Cotabato.
KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews / 15 April) – Villagers in the rustic town of Tampakan, South Cotabato have fashioned their chairs with creative designs to ward off boredom while doing their part in helping fight the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
Jennifer Magno, president of Purok Green in Barangay Poblacion, said Wednesday they were bored to death that’s why they came up with a contest for the best designed chairs where relief goods for COVID-19 assistance would be left by the distributing team.
“In this very stressful time, we need an ice breaker. I was surprised that the neighborhood positively responded. They are obviously bored to death and wanted a relief,” she told MindaNews.
“It’s a small amusement but a great stress reliever for the residents who have been stuck at their homes,” she added.
Magno said those who delivered the relief packs sponsored by the South Cotabato provincial government on Tuesday, April 14, were fascinated and impressed by their creative initiative.
The local government of Tampakan, which hosts the largest known untapped copper and gold minefield in Southeast Asia, has strongly advocated social distancing in support of the national government’s fight against COVID-19.
Instead of household members directly getting the relief packs, the government earlier instructed that families affected by the crisis each put a chair outside of their homes where the goods will be placed.
Magno, a barangay health worker, said their purok elevated to the next level their response to the physical distancing call by creatively designing the chairs to also foster family activity.
“Pirmi na lang tuplok tuplok sa lockdown (Household members are always glued to their cellular phones during this lockdown),” she said.
Mayor Leonard Escobillo, a registered nurse, has restricted the movement of his constituents by assigning the market day for the barangays.
Magno said those who are caught in the streets without quarantine passes and those violating the curfew are brought to the police station and required to do community service and given COVID-19 lectures.
She noted that people should find ways to ward off boredom to avoid getting stressed further by the COVID-19 pandemic.
For their neighborhood, more than a dozen purok households designed their chairs for the third wave of relief goods, consisting of rice, canned sardines and vegetables, said Magno, adding that both poor and affluent households received the relief assistance.
The residents spruced up their chairs for the relief packs without shelling out cash, as they used reusable and recyclable materials in their homes, she added.
A resident sponsored the small cash prizes for the best-designed chairs and for the special awards.
The first place went to the Bambao family, who transformed their chairs into a throne covered by a green cloth and adorned by artificial plants and flowers.
A special award was given to the “Most Informative Chair” for its computer-printed information on how to avoid COVID-19, such as avoiding close contacts and the touching of eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands. It also saluted the frontliners.
Magno, whose husband is a member of the South Cotabato Police Mobile Force and also a COVID-19 frontliner like her, appealed to the public to stay at home to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease.
“Everyone must do their part and not the government or frontliners alone. This is all our war,” she said. (Bong S. Sarmiento / MindaNews)