Student Leader Steps Up in Times of Crisis

As COVID-19 pandemic hits hard the poorest of the poor, the gaping inequities in access to food and health care continues to widen. Though the province-wide enforcing of community quarantine has kept the people off the streets, it has also challenged hardworking local government officials to step up their efforts in reaching out to their constituents.

Neilwin (right) hands food supplies to residents in Barangay Basak.

As Sangguniang Kabataan chairperson Neilwin Butanas of Barangay Basak, Catmon puts it, a good public servant should have initiative to mobilize people and utilize resources. Being a member of the Barangay Health Emergency Response Team of Barangay Basak, Neilwin has been on the clock to man the barangay checkpoint since March 26 as part of “contain and delay” measures against COVID-19. The municipality of Catmon is located about 47 kilometers north of Cebu City.

Meeting with barangay officials while observing social distancing.

Barangay leaders and volunteers prepare to do monitoring check among residents.

Neilwin also extends support to barangay council led by Barangay Captain Teodoro Pontejon who has been on the lead of providing safety nets and securing access to food and basic necessities now that the protracted crisis is threatening the most vulnerable. To date, about 415 households in 5 “puroks” are able to receive 8 kilograms of rice delivered at their doorsteps.

To ease up anxieties felt by the residents of Barangay Basak, Neilwin puts up a reassuring message to people who might need his help.

Neilwin is a 2nd-year Mechanical Engineering Technology student and in-plant trainee at Minebea Mitsumi.