quarantine threat

Quarantine threat, beached boats, remittance drop

The Philippine Department of Health issued a quarantine threat cited in many news reports. It says the Western Visayas may be placed under stricter measures again if people don’t start taking social distancing and masks more seriously. We are in the Western Visaya region.

Meanwhile, the economic picture looks bleak for many Filipino families from lost tourism money and money sent home from overseas workers.

Quarantine threat

We have been lucky and grateful our strict quarantine measures from more than two months ago have eased. In this area, Malay town, Aklan Province, Panay Island, it’s semi-rural, unlike the massive populations in Manila or Cebu City, or Iloilo City on the other side of this island.

The problem, according to reports, is that once the quarantine measures eased, people in densely populated areas flocked to public places without masks or proper social distancing. The warning seems to be: if you can’t follow the relaxed rules, we will revert to the stricter version.

That would suck. I like walking to Malay for veggies and milk and whatnot, and I would like to go to Caticlan again with Tedly on the major supply runs.

So it seems it’s another instance of ‘wait and see’.

Beached boats

As I walked back down our street from a trip into Malay for veggies and milk and whatnot, I ran into Edenia from the Hangout Beach Resort. She and I walked together for a minute when I saw a large boat carried by several men round the bend.

We moved aside so they could pass, but instead they took a breather and put the boat down and gave their shoulders a break. It was massive. I bid them good morning and said they were very strong. They returned the greeting — and asked if I wanted to go parasailing. Half-joking, half-serious.

Turns out, that boat will be beached indefinitely. It was used on the nearby island of Boracay, a tourist hot spot that’s gone stone cold.

It’s difficult for me to find official information about Boracay’s status, but I know this: it is not opening to tourists anytime soon.

Remittance drop

The Philippine economy has been growing in years prior to 2020. Now, like everywhere else on Earth, the country is expecting a contraction.

A chunk of the economy is remittances sent from overseas Filipino workers, or OFWs, to their families here. And some economists think the drop in remittances will be ‘grim’.

This matters because money sent back from OFWs can be as much as 60 percent of a family’s income. It can mean eating, or not.

We have seen many advertisements posted around the Philippines for workers to go to overseas for jobs, most often for household help.

Here is an example:

poster advertising for help wanted in kuwait, saudi arabia, hongkong, malaysia, singapore and japan

The Middle East has the largest number of OFWs, but the oil industry has been hammered. The U.S. also has many OFWs.

If there is a silver lining, it’s that OFWs in America likely work in health care or another industry now considered essential, previously considered menial. These rightly recognized essential workers may still be working, and they may still be able to send money home.

The United Nations has a fascinating page on why remittances matter for countries like the Philippines.

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  1. All these pictures of amazing sunsets prove you are in paradise. Thanks for the perspective on what life is like for the Filipinos who live there. I hope and pray for their fortune and send blessings for taking care of some of my favorite people in the world: the Earth Vagabonds and Mom.

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