IIS Initiative at the Onset of COVID-19 Pandemic

Last March 17, 2020, President Rodrigo R. Duterte placed National Capital Region (NCR) and other selected places in the Philippines under lockdown, officially referred to as “community quarantine, to limit the spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).” NCR and nearby regions in Luzon were specifically put under “Enhanced community quarantine” (ECQ), the strictest of such measure. It was followed by the issuance of a memorandum from the office of UP President Danilo L. Concepcion requiring the entire University of the Philippines System under quarantine measure. Office work (with the exemption of essential offices like “Budget Office”) and all modes of classes were cancelled.

UP Institute of Islamic Studies faculty members and lecturers extended assistance to students stranded in their dormitories and boarding houses. The initiative was supplemented by concerned groups and individuals such as PNP Salam Police, headed by Police Major Joel C. Tuttuh, Adzhar Jadda Madjid of WAMY Philippines, Engr. Sadoun Abdul Aziz and Sister Khadijah Zainab Carmela of Al Rabah Scholarship, and Atty. Imelda Deinla. Special mention is made for Salam Compound RESKYU Team, IIS staff and students, who served as manpower preparing and distributing the goods to dormitories and boarding houses of UP Muslim students which lasted for almost a month. The Institute would also like to recognize the significant help of UP Muslim Student Association (UPMSA) President Abdul Basit Manalundong for facilitating the easy contact of non-IIS students.

Commenting on the Enhanced Community Quarantine, IIS lecturer Atty. Mehol Sadain said: “This is not just a simple matter of preventing people from mingling so they do not contaminate each other. This is a matter that should balance health requirements with livelihood necessities, and provide facilities for both. You do not protect one from disease by leaving him to die of hunger. So this virus should also inculcate compassion on all those who are in a position to give…”

Author: Kamaruddin Bin Alawi Mohammad (University Researcher II)

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