Groups donate food to Boracay residents, frontliners affected by lockdown
ILOILO CITY — Boracay residents and business owners are helping fellow islanders and frontliners amid a lockdown due to the surge in COVID-19 cases on the island.
The donations include bread, bottled water, glutinous rice cakes and even kimchi (Korean salted and fermented vegetables).
Boracaynon and business owner Vicky Aguirre-Salem has been providing food to frontliners during the implementation of the lockdown of Barangay Balabag and Zones 1 and 7 of Barangay Manoc-Manoc.
Salem, who conducted feeding programs for children when the island was closed to tourists for six months in 2018, said she has been helping the community because many residents have been suffering especially those who lost their jobs and source of income.
“It’s my advocacy to share blessings that God showered me,” she said.
South Korean national and restauranteur Elly Lim prepared food packs for 100 families and 80 lunch boxes for front-liners who include policemen, soldiers, Coast Guard personnel, firefighters and municipal and barangay staff.
The Philippine Red Cross Boracay-Malay chapter also provided bread and bottled water to front-liners.
The lockdown from April 1 to 14 has affected thousands of residents whose movements are restricted.
The lockdown in Metro Manila and for neighboring provinces has also triggered cancellation of bookings by tourists worsening the economic slump that hit the island since the pandemic started early last year.
The local government of Malay in Aklan where Boracay is located reported on April 6 12 new COVID-19 cases on the island including six in Balabag, four in Manoc-Manoc and two in Yapak village, bringing the total cases on the island to 145 with 76 active cases.
The Malay municipal government has been providing food packs to families affected by the lockdown but
Acting Malay Mayor Frolibar Bautista earlier said the municipality did not have enough resources to sustain the assistance and sought help from the provincial government and Department of Social Welfare and Development in Western Visayas.
The residents and business owners, who are dependent on tourist arrivals, have been battered since 2018 by the closure of the 1,032-hectare island to tourists to undergo rehabilitation and the pandemic.
“The situation is bad. Worse than ever and business is near death,” a long-time resident who asked not to be identified said.
The resident said the food packs delivered by the local government were not enough especially for families with many members.
While a few business owners and private individuals have been donating food, many of the businesses whose operations have stopped or scaled down could not afford to help.
“Last year, some businesses still had savings but it is gone now. The private sector is near bankrupt,” the resident said.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.