Survival of the fittest

Eighteen months into the pandemic and the fight continues. Nowadays it’s matira ang matibay (survival of the fittest).

The pandemic is truly becoming a complex problem to solve with behavioral challenges among the compounding factors. Behavior, or the way someone conducts oneself, is a critical point in any problem-solving exercise and is usually the “deal breaker”, so to speak. A company may have the best strategy in place but without employee adoption it becomes irrelevant. This is where HR should come in – tying behavioral requirements to KPIs that then become part of the overall intervention program a company implements to achieve the desired business objectives – to get everyone aligned.


Unfortunately, such intervention programs – from a holistic standpoint – do not exist or are not in place in relation to how we are managing the current pandemic as a nation. At best we have restaurants and similar establishments offering discounts for those who are vaccinated, but is this enough? A recent Tugon ng Masa (TNM) National Survey administered by OCTA and conducted from July 12-18, 2021 found that “the use of face masks and regular cleaning of hands using water and soap or alcohol were the top measures adult Filipinos followed to avoid Covid-19 infection, with 89 percent and 85 percent of adult Filipinos practicing each, respectively”.

A balancing act between managing pandemic cases and staying afloat (“keeping the lights on”) is also needed. The Enhanced Community Quarantine ended August 20 because the government could not afford additional ayuda (financial assistance). With the capital now under Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine, we are seeing a consistent rise in cases, each day outdoing the last. Community transmission is present and, as expected, Metro Manila’s hospitals are bursting at their seams. It is difficult to get a hospital room, much less space in a ward or even in the makeshift triage areas. One has to go to the provinces to get medical attention and even then, the logistical nightmare this brings is something one definitely wants to wake up from. It is heartbreaking.


We can have intervention programs in place in our own homes, our communities, our companies – where we are most involved. At the minimum, getting vaccinated is a key step in the fight against the pandemic. This is critical, especially with the current hospital situation.

At home, various interventions can be in place, such as coming up with a staging area for all deliveries for disinfection, initiating segregation-at-source waste management to eliminate the spread of bacteria, preparing healthy meals to ensure good health and well-being, and taking advantage of available online services to manage day-to-day household operations. There are many more but these can be a good start.


In our communities, we can raise awareness on cleanliness and introduce segregation-at-source waste management guidelines. Homeowners’ associations can take the lead here to ensure that their respective communities adhere to and comply with LGU waste management plans while also working hand in hand with their barangays. On top of this, communities should maintain appropriate guidelines depending on the quarantine classification in place.

In our companies, work from home arrangements are still the current mode and it does not look like this will change anytime soon. The fight against the virus continues but at the same time we all have to keep the lights on. This is the call to action for us. As with any complex problems that need to be solved, one needs to be agile in order to survive. Matira, matibay.

Kay Calpo Lugtu is the Chief Operating Officer of Hungry Workhorse, a digital and culture transformation firm. Her advocacies include nation-building, sustainability education and financial literacy. The author can be reached at