By Ms. Noemi Cabaddu and Ms. Cariza Ramos
St. Paul University Philippines (SPUP) engaged the Indigenous People (IP) communities in various endeavors promotive of health and well-being as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Community Development Center, working with ChilFund Philippines, initiated the “SPUP Community Action Responding to Emergency Situation (SPUP CARES) program” as the University’s COVID-19 Response Intervention.
With the assistance of the Local Government Units (LGU), Municipal Police Station (MPS), Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), Barangay Officials and Community Volunteers, SPUP was able to deliver Food Packs to 1,084 families in the IP communities living in the municipalities of Luna and Flora in the province of Apayao since the implementation of Community Quarantine in the Philippines in February 2020. Moreover, through the program, Home-based Family Activity Kits (HFAK), which contained Activity Guides, Infographic Materials, Municipal Emergency Hotlines and Vegetable Seeds were also distributed. The IP communities were also instructed the proper ways of hand washing, the risks of COVID-19, and possible activities to keep themselves safe, healthy, and productive while staying in their respective homes.
Despite the restrictions and limitations due to community quarantine measures, the collaborative efforts of SPU and the LGUs of the said municipalities, contributed to the success of the program. The Barangay Officials were mobilized during the packing of food items and activity kits while Clustered or zonal delivery and house to house distribution of these in far-flung areas were employed. Local Health Personnel, as well as the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP), ensured the compliance of the activity to health protocols – wearing of masks, temperature checking, sanitation and physical distancing.