Pandemic of Epic Proportions Needs a Once-In-A-Lifetime ‘Bayanihan’ Response

The title statement may be too ambitious, but Alan believes that this is the time to go big when it comes to helping our fellowmen. 

“We are humbled by the enormity of the task that history and circumstance has laid before us to bring our nation back from the brink of public health and economic ruin brought about by this global pandemic,” said Alan in Congress when he introduced the “Bayanihan to Recover as One” bill. 

Everyone who ran for elective posts in 2019, Alan stressed, didn’t anticipate the arrival of a worldwide health pandemic. No one has a platform, solution, or program that would deal with this crisis. 

“When we communed with our constituents and went around the country, we’ve seen with our own eyes the magnitude of pain and suffering of our fellowmen, the medical frontliners, workers, and business owners,” says Alan. “We are acutely aware of the responsibility that lies heavily on our shoulders.” 

There is no time to waste as each minute that passes, a life is taken away by COVID, a worker loses his job, or a family becomes hungry. Alan called on his colleagues to step up their support and imbibe the spirit that our ancestors imbibed in times when empathy is needed the most — “bayanihan.” 

“In times like this, leadership always matters, but we all have to be ready to do our part and make sacrifices for the common good. We have struggled, but I have faith in the Filipino — that we will find the discipline and the spirit of unity that is necessary to save our lives and our livelihoods, ‘buhay at kabuhayan.’ Bayanihan is alive in all of us. Yes, we would disagree on many controversial, political, and legal issues, but when it comes to fighting COVID, we can unite as one.” 

Alan led the House, even holding the first virtual session, just to pass landmark bills such as “Bayanihan to Heal as One (Bayanihan 1)” and “Bayanihan to Recover as One (Bayanihan 2).” Both measures aim to strengthen the government’s response and recovery initiatives. He also created the Defeat COVID-19 Committee to facilitate the enactment of pandemic-related measures.

The “Bayanihan to Heal as One” granted the President the authority to adopt temporary emergency measures to respond to the effects of the pandemic such as providing emergency cash subsidy to almost 18 million low-income households, in addition to other programs. 

“Bayanihan to Recover as One,” on the other hand, aims to accelerate the recovery of the economy and allocate funds for the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines and other medications.

“We have to put the people first. And at its center, we have placed public health, MSMEs, OFWs, our athletes, the creative industry especially performing artists who lost jobs, teachers who lost work, pastors, priests, and imams who continue to minister to their flock, and more. This is about jobs, jobs, jobs. We need jobs,” says Alan. 

“Our people are still suffering. That’s why all of us in government just have to do better, we have to do more, and we have to deliver faster before it is too late for employees, small business owners, all the way to our returning OFWs and ordinary citizens.”  — Alan

Bayanihan 2, he says, is a “living piece of legislation” that will empower industries and revitalize sectors of society that have been decimated by the pandemic, or were otherwise forgotten and neglected in the past. He notes the agriculture and tourism sectors that are essential to our economy, since they have a big multiplier effect in jobs generation. 

Add to that the manufacturing industry, which will allow manufacturers to return and thrive under the right elements to create the ecosystem or environment.  

“These three sectors will form the spear-tip of our recovery effort, and underlies our key philosophy of putting people back to work so that we can all get back on our feet. This is what I call ATM — Agriculture, Tourism, and Manufacturing,” says Alan. 

However, he says that it would take more than just a law to get things going. What the country needs now is a roadmap.

“We need a pragmatic plan that can be funded and implemented immediately and effectively. Once we have this, we need everyone to be on-board and carry their weight. Nothing we do can succeed without this most crucial ingredient of national unity, and no challenge will be insurmountable if we face it bowing our heads to God and acting in unison.”


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