Interview mit Mae
1. How is the current situation regarding Covid-Infections in your country?
Due to the rising cases of COVID-19, the Philippine government has put the whole country under Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) which started last March 15,2020. This was supposed to be lifted after a month however due to the continuous rise in COVID-19 positive cases, the quarantine was extended until the end of April.
The quarantine has restricted travel by land, sea and air. All public transportation are suspended, private vehicles are also restricted unless they transport essential goods or food products. Private companies and government offices are also closed. Only those that provide essential services or products are allowed to operate such as supermarkets, pharmacies, banks and some food establishments.
2. What activities are possible, what activities are not possible regarding training of candidates?
Due to the strict implementation of the ECQ, trainings are done through virtual classes. All classes and almost all office work and other activities are done online thus it is necessary for everyone to have access to the internet.
3. How is your experience with digital working and collaboration (videoconferences, calls)? What are the difficulties, what works well?
Almost everyone easily adapted to online meetings and conferences using different tools like Skype, Zoom, Webex and more. Due to the increase usage of internet, it has been a challenge now to get a good and fast internet connection which has also been a challenge for some trainees when they have online video and voice calls.
One advantage is that all are required to stay at home, spending more time with families and at the same time doing all work and trainings at the comfort of their homes. The trainees also have lessen their expenses as they do not need to spend money for transportation and food like when they were physically at the training center.
4. How are the language lessons going on?
The current batch has adjusted so far. They were expecting to have the personal experience with the instructors but they are now getting used to taking their classes online via Zoom.
5. What do you need most to continue the training for Germany?
The pandemic hasn’t stopped the training. It continues amidst this crisis and as time goes by we believe that the trainees will get use to the online classes.
6. Is it possible to prepare candidates for their departure to a hospital in Germany in the near future? (disregarding lacking flight options in these days)
Yes it is possible. The ECQ is expected to be lifted in a couple of weeks and private and government offices are expected to be operational soon, albeit skeletal or partial. The POEA has issued a temporary deployment ban on health workers bound overseas while the country is under a State of Emergency due to COVID. But it is just for the time being and it does not prohibit the processing of applications or completion of documentation. Thus all applicants and candidates whose documents are in process may proceed as soon as the ban is lifted.
7. Do you have a personal wish for the situation or an advice how to overcome and continue best this situation Covid-19?
We all wish that this pandemic to end soon but the best thing to do right now is to stay at home. The reason for the ECQ is to “flatten the curve” and we can all do our part by following this. Another positive thing that this situation has brought us, is that we have seen the importance of our doctors, nurses, and health workers. One of the reasons why most of them have to leave the Philippines is because of very low compensation and poor working conditions. May this pandemic bring about positive changes and that may they get the recognition they deserve in their country.
Filipinos are a resilient people. Our wish is for us to continue to carry that strength. We are said to always find a reason to smile in the midst of any hardship. We also pray for the strength and protection of all our frontliners especially the health workers. They are our heroes, not only in the Philippines but wherever they are right now in the whole world.