Creativity Amidst Crisis: Laudable Response to COVID-19 outbreak and quarantine

by Harvey Llamosa
southeast asia creative response covid-19
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“Sometimes big problems are best solved with lots of small and creative solution.

— Ricardo Salinas Pliego, Founder and Chairman of Grupo Salinas in Mexico

With the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) being implemented in Luzon in the Philippines due to COVID-19, several local government units (LGUs) have been thinking of creative ways to help and provide assistance to the citizens affected.

SEA Wave gathered some of the most creative COVID-19 response of local government units (LGUS). Here’s what we think are the High Five:


Mobile Palengke (Market)

mobile palengke pasig

Photo courtesy of Mayor Vico Sotto FB Page.

Public markets which are usually jampacked and overcrowded are one of the problematic places for the LGUs because social distancing is very hard to do in places like this. With this situation in mind, the city government of Pasig led by Mayor Vico Sotto introduced the “Mobile Palengke (Market)”, a roving market where you can buy your favorite market goods without going to the overcrowded market. Pasig City deployed five (5) Mobile Markets to go around the areas which are far away from the main market.

This brilliant effort by Pasig City was applauded and now being replicated other cities in Metro Manila and the rest of the country.


Fresh Vegetables and Live Chickens as Relief Goods

live chicken relief goods

Photo courtesy of Manila Bulletin.

The LGU of Gapan, Nueva Ecija led by Mayor Emerson Pascual made some noise because of its relief approach to their constituents, each household received one sack (50 kilos) of rice, a set of vegetables, and a live chicken!  The LGU is also looking to give ulam (cooked meal) in the following days to ensure that everyone can survive the ECQ.

vegetables relief goods

Photo courtesy of Bocaue FB Page.

Another Bayanihan can also be witnessed in Bocaue, Bulacan as the LGU of Bocaue bought fresh vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, chayote, potatoes, and carrots in Cordillera to provide nutritious relief goods to their constituents and at the same time, helping the vegetable farmers to sell their goods and avoid spoilage. That’s hitting two problems in one solution!


AI-Assisted Diagnosis

ai ct scan

Photo courtesy of Baguio City PIO.

The City Government of Baguio led by Mayor Benjamin Magalong has one of the best practices in containing and avoiding the spread of COVID-19. The city recorded no new cases of the disease in the past few days. One of their solutions, an AI CT Scan System, where the CT scans of patients are compared to the database of positive COVID-19 cases examined in China. The AI CT Scan can give results in just a few minutes!

Just a note, the results are not conclusive and confirmatory, but if it is a probable positive case, the city can already start doing contact tracing and isolate the patient.


Ship for the Frontliners

iloilo ship frontliners

Photo courtesy of Arnold Almacen.

Iloilo City led by Mayor Jerry Treñas is also being lauded because of its planned and firm action against COVID-19. The City Government of Iloilo does not only care for the potential COVID-19 cases but also to the frontliner heroes. They partnered with John B. Lacson Foundation Maritime University to have the ship of the University transformed into temporary lodging for the city’s frontliners.


Misting and Talking Drones

misting drones

Photo courtesy of Inquirer.

Another hi-tech solution to avoid COVID-19 is the usage of misting drones in Pasig City. They already have the traditional trucks spraying solutions on the streets, but these trucks cannot reach the smaller streets, so they bought three (3) drones that can roam and fly around several areas in Pasig City. Each drone can carry up to 10 liters of disinfecting solution and cover an approximate distance of 300 meters.

Marikina City, Pasig’s neighbor, and led by Mayor Marcelino Teodoro, also deployed drones in public markets that are equipped with thermal scanners and speakers to remind the public about the safety precautions during the ECQ.


In times like this, we can see who are the leaders that are innovators, and thinkers that care for the people. We hope we can see more leaders giving solutions to this crisis.

Is your LGU have other creative solutions too? Please share it with us.


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