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Stranger Than Fiction

My earliest memory of seeing PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) is in E.T. the Extra-Terrestial, a 1982 blockbuster produced and written by Steven Spielberg. The movie revolves around the friendship between a boy named Elliott and a lovable extraterrestial stranded on Earth. Towards the end of the film, a crew wearing PPE had to seal the home of Elliott and secure E.T. Back then, I thought PPE belonged in science fiction.Fast forward to my adulthood, and PPE are making more frequent appearances in pandemic films, such as Outbreak, Contagion, and I am Legend.

Today, PPE has never been more popular in real life.
On the ground, we run a program that talks about the weather and climate change, disaster risk reduction, and possible disasters, such as typhoons, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions. But for all our emphasis on preparedness, this pandemic slipped through.

And now, it’s here, full-blown and in-our-faces. Sure, it’s something I’ve seen in movies, but definitely not something I imagined happening for real. How do I deal with something I’d only seen on the big screen?

Yet every day is an opportunity to contribute to its resolution. Right now, kindness equates to staying home and out of harm’s way. Personally, I strive to eat right, sleep early, work from home. I continuously check on my team’s well-being.
The Panahon TV team of Ube Media is rising up as rear guards, patrolling and keeping track of what’s out there. With their continued broadcasting, our team has been formulating and distributing communication materials about our advocacies–weather, climate change, disasters, and most of all, the pandemic. They’re locked in at the PAGASA Weather and Flood Forecasting Center together with the meteorologists and forecasters that still have to be on duty, pandemic or not. The rest are working at home, adjusting to the new normal.  Each day, I pray for all of our safety.

But I know it’s not easy for the frontliners–the doctors, nurses, delivery crew, security guards, soldiers, sanitation workers, essential government workers, grocery workers, bankers and IT professionals who need to make sure we are all safe from the invisible enemy.

But a big part of me hopes like the little kid that watched E.T. for the first time–
that no matter how desolate things seem, we, the protagonists in this stranger-than-fiction crisis, will persevere, and ultimately prevail.
PS. On March 8, when I first wrote about the pandemic, we only had 10 cases.

On March 31, we had 2,084 cases.


By Donna May Lina

Executive Producer, Panahon TV