Dear Friends and Partners,
Warm greetings of peace in these trying times!
We wanted to update you on how the Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID) has responded to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and to reassure you we are doing all we can to ease any further impact it might have on our staff, partners and work.
We are inspired by the mostly calm and collected response of people living and working in areas that face life-threatening crises day to day who have carried on in even these most difficult times. In Marawi, for example, displaced communities living in makeshift quarters take to heart the advise of social distancing creatively even in their cramped settings while asserting their rights calling out authorities to address their long-standing concerns. We are astounded and learning from them.
We have been closely monitoring the impact COVID-19 could have on our peacebuilding partners on the ground be it in Marawi, the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), the indigenous peoples communities, the country and region at large and even internationally. To date, there have been no widespread outbreaks (and hope it remains that way) in the areas of our partners but there are certain challenges with the responses some of our governments – including here in the Philippines–have taken to contain the contagion. We are closely monitoring the situation in the BARMM as there are reports of citizens from there who may have participated in a gathering in Malaysia recently that could have triggered some infections. We are also monitoring and engaging the consequences of a unilateral ceasefire declared by the government with the National Democratic Front (NDF) in the Philippines and its possible implications for the overall peace process. We are in touch with the coalitions, networks, consortiums and groups that IID is part of and continue to update and support each other.
However, depending on how the virus spreads, the effects could be substantial.
Thus we are ensuring that IID can continue to function with the minimum of disruption despite the expected tumult.
Meanwhile, we have taken the steps putting the health and wellbeing of our team at the core of our decisions, to wit:
- We have cancelled all non-essential travel.
- The staff in our Davao and Manila offices is mostly working from home.
- We have put in place additional measures to support staff that may be affected with the lock downs in Davao and Manila.
- While we hope nothing serious befalls any of our staff or their families, we will be ready to support any if worse comes to worst. We pray that this does not happen.
Our biggest challenge now is ensuring that the uncertainty caused by the pandemic doesn’t impair our ability to deliver on our peacebuilding and solidarity programs and projects. We are constantly in touch with partners, donors and beneficiaries in how to proceed with our common endeavors.
If you have any questions, please email us at email@example.com.
Please accept our heartfelt thank you for your ongoing support and solidarity. I wish you safety, health and wellness today and beyond. This shall pass.