It’s been three weeks of staying indoors since the quarantine order. Our city looks like a ghost town. Impossible as it may sound, there is no traffic. Practically every store closed and businesses stopped operations. We are on a standstill ad to when, where and how this pandemic is going to blow off. Nobody saw this coming for sure. Almost every day I meet clients. That is the nature of my job. All of a sudden, everything ceases like that! With all these crazy things going on, there are three things I wish I had done before COVID-19 happened. I wish I were a registered voter. I wish I reached out to as many families for critical illness coverage. I wish I had gone to the beach.

The last time I voted was during the 2001 elections. I’m not proud nor regretful of it. I find this exercise a pointless pursuit. I figured with the chaotic political situation in our country, how does one vote count? Frustrations are common for a common Filipino. However, with the recent turn of events as the COVID-19 crisis escalated, it was evident how poorly we have chosen our political leaders. How can I say that? Well, one for the fact that over decades of elections, there was not one politician who prioritized passing a bill for a crisis plan. Well, there was one, the late MDS. However her efforts of creating that bill were to no avail. It was not just the priority.

Another is the seemingly delayed responses of these individuals who we look up to in such a crisis like this. There was not enough training and resources to implement a plan. We know for a fact that the medical system of the Philippines is not COVID adept. I think prevention measures taken the earliest possible time should have been considered (early as in, during the first few cases of COVID-19 in Wuhan). Spiraling down to the local government units. It took a while for the local officials to actually come up with a plan. If not for the joint efforts of the citizens who proposed an early closure of borders, we would have been seeing a nightmare of a rise of cases in our city.

I thought, well, I can’t tell for sure if my vote-my voice on the ballot will count. But, I sure am voting and campaigning for the next local and national elections. How many Filipinos like me have been passive about elections? I think quite a sizeable number are. Would you agree? We see election after election a set of familiar politicians. We sigh and smirk to see these familiar faces. But, come to think of it, that one vote could have made a difference, right?

Also, I wish I went out to more individuals to get themselves a critical insurance coverage. My advocacy is for as many Filipinos to be protected in times of critical illnesses such as this. I have learned, as soon as COVID 19 news broke out, the company I represent, Manulife Philippines, added additional P1500 per day hospital income benefit for existing policyholders. Imagine, if the client has P1000 per day, the company gives an additional P1500 (a total of p2500 per day for patients affected with COVID 19). Also, they will give out critical illness claims for deaths that are COVID related. There are 3,764 confirmed cases as of writing. I wonder how many of them had an insurance policy? They could have claimed a daily hospital income benefit, or a lump sum critical illness benefit. Imagine, the potential number of people I might have served during this time of crisis.

Lastly, I wish I hit the beach before the quarantine started. Summer is the most awaited time of the year. I can go beaching all day. I looked forward to a vacation in the pink sand of Sipalay beaches. Alternately, in the pristine waters of Bantayan Island. I don’t know when will this blow off but surely, I won’t get to see the beach this year.