The province of Palawan has been dependent on the tourism sector to boost its economy for years and the threat of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) leaves numerous workers displaced.
The quarantine controls were put into place starting the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) on March 15 in the entire Luzon area and works were suspended.
From an individual effort to help displaced workers of the tourism sector, this sparked the concept of Palawan BayaniJuan by Angela Tiotangco-Alvarez, a local community group dedicated to reaching families of tourism workers in Palawan.
“What started out as individual effort quickly sparked the idea that there is a large community that needs support in this time of chaos and uncertainty; the thousands of tourism workers in Palawan tourism industry, Palawan’s tourism frontliners,” according to a press statement.
Angela has received messages from the tourism workers they partnered with such as from tour guides to tour bus driver who is asking for assistance with food in their area.
It started the call that there is a large community that needs support in times of crisis brought by the pandemic.
Angela felt the struggle of the affected sector as she spends seven years working in Palawan’s tourism industry.
Even now that she is currently based in Manila, she still manages the Inaladelan Island Resort in Port Barton, San Vicente. Taryn Navarro who also works with her in the project is managing the team that runs the social media marketing of the resort.
The two are also co-founders of Aloha Palawan, which is an annual travel event to promote and celebrate the beauty of Palawan. They have spent the past two years in Puerto Princesa and San Vicente partnering with local businesses and working with Palaweños on the ground.
The 2020 edition of Aloha Palawan was supposed to happen in Coron but like other businesses in the tourism sector, where operations ceased due to the rise and spread of COVID-19, they are also affected.
The birth of Palawan BayaniJuan
The group aims to support the community of displaced tourism workers by providing them care packages consists of rice, canned goods, instant noodles, and toiletries.
Angela said Saturday that Palawan BayaniJuan is targeting around 100 persons per tourism affected municipality. They plan to start with towns of San Vicente and Coron, followed by El Nido, Busuanga, Puerto Princesa, and other areas.
“Our operation system is broad. We have people in charge of sourcing, community partners who are in charge for packing and another team together with a coordinator from LGU for distribution, we have designated teams in every municipality and my team in Manila who is in charge of monitoring donations and marketing,” she said.
“What sets it apart is maybe because we want it organized and transparent to our donors and recipients, we have a donation tally in the place where they can monitor where the donations are going,” she said.
Angela said that the biggest challenge that the group is facing is to reach and surpass the target amount they have set to help the displaced workers and their families.
The Palawan BayaniJuan aims to collect P250,000 and the group firmly believes that even a little amount can go a long way.
Angela said that they are also considering the logistics in letting the project rolls.
“Ang biggest challenge is to reach and hopefully malampasan ‘yong amount na target namin for us to help more displaced workers and their families. Other than that is logistics, we have to follow safety protocols going to one municipality to another and at the same time careful processing of distribution,” she said.
The group has already raised over P100,000, eight days after they have launched the Palawan BayaniJuan and currently reaching almost half of their target.
“We launched it May 8, 7 days after we already have P100,000 plus almost halfway to our target, thank you to our generous donors,” she said.
“We didn’t set any deadlines, as long as di pa na-lift ang tourism sector and madami pa ang nagdodonate we will just continue doing it,” she said.
Angela believed that even a small amount of donation can make a big difference in reaching more families.
“A small amount of P50 can help displaced workers and their families. This is a collective effort, don’t think na nakakahiya to donate ng P50. Malaking bagay ito right now. Let’s help our fellow Palaweños and their families survive this pandemic,” she said.
Interested donors may donate through GCash, Paymaya, or Paypal through the link bit.ly/bayanijuan.
The inflow and outflow of donations may also be tracked through the group’s online tracker bit.ly/bayanijuancarepackage
For more information about the project, the group could be found on facebook, instagram or through email at firstname.lastname@example.org