Tell it to SunStar: Cooperation amid global crisis

By Twinkle Dimple Abucay and Maricel Cuico

THE outbreak of the first case of 2019 novel coronavirus (nCoV) in the Philippines shows a strong cooperation between the Philippines and China in combating its spread. On Jan. 31, 2020, the Department of Health (DOH) confirmed the first case of 2019-nCoV, a 38-year-old female Chinese national who traveled to the Philippines from Wuhan via Hong Kong, testing positive of the virus. After two days, the DOH announced the second case of 2019-NcoV, which is the 44-year-old man who died. They believed that he was the companion of the woman. Both of them are people from Wuhan, China.

The outburst of the positive cases of 2019-nCov and the increasing number of persons under watch on suspicion that they might have been infected with the nCov climbs to 215. Of that number, 184 are currently admitted and isolated in hospitals, nine refused admission, and 17 were discharged but remain under strict monitoring, according to the DOH. Both countries are communicating to assist the security of the Filipino citizens.

The Chinese government helped the Philippines by providing masks since the supply is insufficient. According to the Philippine News Agency, the Chinese government donated a total number of 200,000 surgical masks.

The Philippine Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. (PCCCII) pledged to donate 600,000 face masks. They also offered to share medical information and findings about the 2019-nCoV.

On the other hand, Philippine agencies, such as Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), provided P10,000 cash, transport assistance, and accommodation to the affected overseas Filipino workers (OFW) in China.

Moreover, the Philippine Consular Agency in Shanghai is doing its job to contact all the Filipinos in China to ensure their health and safety. Lastly, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) tells the OFWs to follow the advice of the local health authorities in their areas.

The efforts exerted by the Philippines and China show unity and collaboration. In 2016, they had a joint statement that was meant to enhance understanding, broaden cooperation and increase interaction and communication to benefit their people.

As Filipinos, we are glad that both governments are striving hard to fulfill their duties while maintaining their close bilateral relationship in times of crisis.

The Philippine government also achieved the second pillar of the Philippine Foreign Policy, which is the protection and promotion of the welfare of OFWs. We cannot do this without communicating with China.

Nations must help each other, knowing that this is a global emergency. There is no space for blaming and hating China since all of us are suffering from this situation. Thus, cooperation and effective communication are essential for every nation to solve a global problem. It is a great key to escape from this epidemic to preserve the life of the individuals.

Nations should be aware of their limitations and work as one so that their ties with other nations and the safety of their citizens will be balanced without compromising one aspect.