By Dinia Amil L. Malabanan

San Isidro Labrador Homeowners’ Association, Inc. (HOAI), a community in Barangay Moonwalk, Parañaque, took the adage “it takes a village” to the next level, combining unity and effective leadership in mitigating the impact of COVID-19. These traits have been working wonders for the 34-member association as it has zero positive cases reported despite the high number of infections in the city.

As soon as the threat of the pandemic in the country became imminent, Victor Badoles, the HOAI president, felt the urgency to protect the safety and well-being of his members. He immediately coordinated with the local government unit (LGU) to align the community’s course of action to the former’s programs and projects. “Ang unang-unang ginawa ko ay ang pag-submit ng mga pangalan (ng aking mga members) sa barangay para sa ayuda ng gobyerno at para sa pag-aayos ng quarantine pass ng aking mga kasamahan,” he shared. Badoles also made sure that minimum health standards were strictly implemented in the community, such as wearing face masks and practicing social distancing.

Acknowledging the critical role of the LGU in combating COVID-19, he called on his members to support local officials in delivering its services to their community. “Mayroon kaming mga tao para sa Bantay Barangay at Bantay Kalusugan,” Badoles said, referring to volunteers who help guard the checkpoints in the area and monitor the blood pressure of partner-homeowners. The volunteers also assist in the distribution of rice and other relief goods from the local government.

For Badoles, they cannot weather the COVID-19 storm without the strong sense of civic engagement of his members. “Gusto namin siyempre makatulong sa aming mga kasama at para na rin mas madaling matugunan ‘yung mga pangangailangan ng mga tao,” he explained, feeling proud that a good number of people manifested their willingness to become frontliners for their community at the onset of the pandemic.

No one left behind

The pandemic brought out a wave of solidarity and generosity within the community, with the association launching various interventions to ease the burdens of partner-homeowners during the crisis. One of which is the daily feeding program funded by contributions from members, who also volunteered in the preparation and cooking of meals distributed to every household and families living along a nearby creek. They came up with this intervention because of their commitment to treat each member as family, especially now that some of them are financially unstable to sustain their daily needs during the pandemic.

Badoles said selflessness is ingrained in their community that he was not surprised when his members decided to distribute the sacks of rice initially intended for volunteers among all members. “Sa panahon ngayon talagang kailangan tulong-tulong at may pagkakaisa, tsaka para maiwasan na rin ang samaan ng loob,” he emphasized. Badoles also confessed that he even contributed the financial assistance he received from the Department of Labor and Employment to complement the rice distribution program.

To date, Parañaque has more than 200 active COVID-19 positive cases, including 16 in Barangay Moonwalk. But with the stringent health measures implemented by the association, coupled with its united response and action, San Isidro Labrador HOAI remains COVID-free.

San Isidro Labrador HOAI is an onsite project under the Community Mortgage Program. Its P2.7-million loan was approved in June 2011, with assistance from its mobilizer, the city government of Parañaque.