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‘Kindness stations’ proposed for poor Filipino communities affected by coronavirus

The main highway that traverses the Philippine capital is almost empty of traffic as authorities implement a 30-day lockdown in a bid to contain the spread of the coronavirus. (Photo by Angie de Silva)

The social action arm of the Philippines’ Catholic bishops’ conference has urged dioceses across the country to set up “kindness stations” in poor communities affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

The government has placed the entire island of Luzon, home to over 57 million people, on “enhanced community quarantine” starting March 16 in a bid to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

Under the order, strict quarantine for all households is implemented, transportation is suspended, and provision for food and “essential health services” are regulated.

Father Edwin Gariguez, executive secretary of the social action secretariat of the bishops’ conference, said community-based efforts have to be done because the operations of humanitarian organizations are paralyzed due to the lockdown.

“We need to de-centralize the giving of assistance,” Father Gariguez said. “We need to mobilize communities to help the most needy and vulnerable members,” he said.

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