I WAS in Bongao for the Sports for Peace project in that island municipality, one of the 11 island municipalities of Tawi tawi, the southernmost part of our country.
I never thought that the children and parents’ laughter would be their last. They enjoyed the games, the interaction, the play and fun, the food and the stories of hope.
We would have been at Simunul, another island municipality of Tawi tawi.It would have been fun. But the lockdown descended the first week of March 2020. The threat of the Veerus 19 was real and turned out to be a pandemic.
Everything came to a halt, and everything was locked down. No movement. No economic activity. Nothing, except for very few movements of people. Other than this, there was silence all over. A very ominous one.
Stay Home. So like an obedient lamb, I stayed home. The atmosphere was like a retreat. Each to his own. Movement just stopped. All activities that we’re used to were stopped.
In the first few months, I went into gulay gardening to keep me busy aside from writing my journal. It was not just fun but renewed my love for planting veggies and flowers, as well. Was it providential that in January I constructed a cozy table enough for 4 persons 2 meters apart?
So with three friends we stayed at the table beneath the canopies of aratiles and alum trees. The morning chirps of the black birds serenaded the four of us. One of us kept on theologizing. One just kept quiet. The other talked about what he learned from the FB that were actually all fake news.
The company was gloriously fun. The seemingly endless prattless mimicking unconsciously the children reached its crescendo as each wanted to outdo each other with their empty talks.
When the talks subsided, the garden was quiet with the breeze. I was left to take care of the place which I considered my sacred place. Got all my books and notebooks for my readings and writing tasks. More time to read as the city was drowned in fear of the veerus.
At that time the streets in our subdivision were empty, and the usual sight of children playing and rich with their frolic were gone. Sad when children have to play. It is their basic right as stipulated in our constitution and UN charter. The children were deprived of their right to play.
This virus and the leadership have a lot of explaining to do.
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