Amid public anxiety and fear about the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), a Filipino couple stepped in to help others.
In a video uploaded by Nathan Perez on Facebook, hundreds of people can be seen lining up in front of a milk tea shop along Lirio Street in Camarin, Caloocan City to get free rubbing alcohol.
In an interview with DailyPedia, Juan Paolo Siva, the owner of “My Beasteas” milk tea shop, said it was the idea of his wife, Weng, to buy extra gallons of alcohol and share it with everyone without asking for anything in return.
“Like every worried Filipino po, we decided to buy alcohol sa isang supermarket and we were so disappointed because when we reached the shelves, wala ni isang alcohol,” Siva narrated.
“Then the following day sa office ni Weng, ‘yung company nila nakahanap nang mabibilihan ng alcohol. So we decided na magpasabay nang para sa amin. Then my wife told me na bumili kami nang sobra para ipamigay namin sa community namin dahil wala ng mabilihan ng alcohol. Then, ‘yun po… the rest is history,” he added.
According to Siva, they conducted the “Oplan Alcohol Sharing” last March 14 and a total of 204 people benefitted from the project.
He said each person brought their own container and received 100 milliliters (ml) of alcohol.
“Ang pinamigay lang namin ay 100 ml per person kasi target po namin na maraming mabigyan,” Siva explained.
“Everything was free po,” he added.
Alcohol is in high demand at the moment because health officials said it is effective at killing different types of microbes, including both bacteria and viruses.
Siva said they are not new in helping others as he and his wife are both mountaineers and members of “Sagip Kagubatan,” which organizes various outreach programs.
“Kaya parang natural lang na ma-miss namin tumulong dahil nasanay na kami,” he noted.
“Since she (Weng) gave birth kasi with our youngest daughter, hindi na kami masyado nakakasama sa mga outreach programs,” he added.
Unlike other people who would sell the alcohol at a high price given the high demand, Siva said they will continue to give the alcohol for free even on the next time around.
“Kung mauulit po ulit ‘yung ganoong pagtulong o pamimigay if given a chance, then uulitin po namin, without hesitation po. Basta makatulong,” he noted.
“Sa panahon ngayon na may crisis tayong hinaharap, mas panahon ito nang pagkakaisa, pagtutulungan at pag-uunawaan. Pairalin natin ang disiplina at pagmamahal sa kapwa. Kaya nating malagpasan ito dahil Pilipino tayo. PADAYON!” he concluded.
As of March 17, the Department of Health (DOH) said there were a total number of 187 COVID-19 cases in the Philippines, with 14 deaths.
Meanwhile, four people have reportedly recovered from the virus.
To prevent the rise of COVID-19 cases in the country, Luzon has been placed under lockdown from March 17 to April 12.
President Rodrigo Duterte has also declared a state of calamity in the Philippines.