Overcoming Covid: In their own words

BY ROBERT Y. SIY The author is a columnist (“Mobility Matters”) for The Manila Times.



The Manila Times



Covid in the Philippines: Personal Stories (Edited by Suresh Nanwani and William A. Loxley. Published in Singapore [ISBN 978-961-18-1075-6] (Inquiries at jeffabularado@ gmail.com) PRINT and social media have been documenting the evolution and the pervasive impact of the Covid-19 pandemic for more than two years. We have seen voluminous statistics on tests, infections, serious illnesses and deaths from different variants of Covid-19, plus the associated social and economic toll. Countless jobs have been upended, students pulled out of school, and plans and dreams set aside in what is arguably the most significant global crisis in over 50 years. What was missing, until now, is a volume that provides a more intimate view of how individual Filipinos and residents of the Philippines — of different backgrounds, ages, occupations, geographical areas and economic standing — have coped with the massive changes that the pandemic has wrought, in their own words. That lacuna has now been filled by Covid in the Philippines: Personal Stories. This volume of 40 personal stories, collected by the editors in the latter half of 2020, is an important historical record of how Filipinos in different environments suffered from, responded to, and ultimately survived one of the most turbulent periods in recent memory. The last two years have isolated many of us; we have been confined largely to our own social and professional circles. This book enables us to have a glimpse into the hidden lives of 41 individuals who have generously shared their personal journeys through this period of crisis — how they have confronted adversity, sometimes ending in tragedy. Each story is vivid and real. The information from these individual cases offers a valuable perspective that is missing from Covid-19 statistics or from highlevel historical accounts of the pandemic. With a snapshot of each life, we understand much better how individuals, groups and communities in our society are affected by a major crisis and how people are able to draw on the support from relationships and networks. The book can also serve as a teaching tool, with useful insights in every case for the social scientist as well as for those in the helping professions. Both Suresh Nanwani, PhD and William A. Loxley, PhD are longtime residents of the Philippines. Dr. Nanwani teaches at Durham University, UK and publishes extensively on development, governance, accountability, organization development, appreciative living and positivism. Dr. Loxley, an educational economist, writes on education and development. In their own words, “We hope through reading the stories about the pandemic in the Philippines, readers will gain a better understanding that shows we are all in the situation together. We all share similar or different responses, hopes and dreams, and can learn from this unforgettable experience to become stronger and resilient.”