A good kind of pandemic and how powerless humans are: A protocol officer’s reflections

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Jasmin Egan is no stranger to fame.

A celebrity married to the scion of a prominent family in the province, she can turn heads literally and figuratively.

Even President Duterte follows her.

She is after all one of the protocol officers of the most powerful man in the Philippines.

If you are wondering what a protocol officer is, the School of Etiquette defines it as someone who “creates a distraction- free environment so relationships can be developed, issues can be resolved and all objectives met.”

Protocol? Critics might charge a president they think is uncouth does not observe protocol or etiquette, anyway.

But this is not a story about President Duterte or Miss Egan’s duties.

This is about Jasmin Egan and how a pandemic made her think of coming up with another pandemic, a “good one,” to fight the virus that has already claimed lives and has made people walk in fear of one another.

To Jasmin, the basic realization was: the pandemic has shown “how powerless humans are.”

“Whatever station one’s life is, when death comes in the form of this kind of pandemic, one may not be spared; this killer does not recognize anyone’s status in life,” Jasmin tells DNX in a written interview.

In the midst of death caused by the pandemic, at least a thousand so far in the country, Jasmin was stirred, especially when health frontliners began dying.

“Why the doctors and nurses, why them?” she asked herself as she focused on the thought that these frontliners are “supposed to be the one who… can cure us.”

“Knowing they are dying slowly alone in the (intensive care unit), really broke my heart,” she shares.

The sense of gratitude came.

Photo courtesy of Jasmin Egan
Photo courtesy of Jasmin Egan

“I said, if these doctors and nurses are getting the first exposure to this virus and they can’t leave their duty to avoid death from it, I should be very thankful for their courage in doing so.”

Then the rational mind took over, that part where reason resides.

Photo courtesy of Jasmin Egan
Photo courtesy of Jasmin Egan

“But to be grateful is not enough,” Jasmin adds.

“I should also take part in this endeavor although at first, I (did) not know what to do.”

Then came the thought: I will ask friends and family to help our frontliners feel that hindi sila nag-iisa in fighting this CoViD.

Photo courtesy of Jasmin Egan
Photo courtesy of Jasmin Egan

“While they are fighting life and death in the frontline, I decided to do my part fighting for the safety of their own families, too,” Jasmin points out.

With that intent came action.

Unknown to most, Jasmin had been hooking up with volunteers in the city to conduct a disinfection of roads and sidewalks.

The intent was simple: to keep the frontliners’ families safe from the virus.

Photo courtesy of Jasmin Egan
Photo courtesy of Jasmin Egan

That was not yet enough, she shares. So she decided to do more.

“I (began) to share what I have to those whom I knew who suffered a loss of income. I sent them food.”

That was when Jasmin saw what she calls “a good kind of pandemic,” the one that “moved people to share what they have to their neighbors, to people they do not know, (they) helped the government distribute relief goods even to those in the mountains where they have not been (to) before.”

Photo courtesy of Jasmin Egan
Photo courtesy of Jasmin Egan

Jasmin was not yet satisfied. Something can still be done, she thought.

Sanitation, check. Food, check.

What else could be done?

Then she saw local artists deprived by the pandemic of earnings.

Artists? Frontliners?

Photo courtesy of Jasmin Egan
Photo courtesy of Jasmin Egan

How about a song to make them feel good?

In no time, Jasmin was commissioning a music video, a “priceless gift” for frontliners, she said who must feel “well appreciated, loved, and glorified through their songs.”

“Hihilom Ang Sugat (The Wound Will Heal),” is Jasmin’s ode to the frontliners is written by Jun Istalyon.

The official music video was directed by Kemuel Rei de Oca with post production by Red Paper Studios.

Photo courtesy of Jasmin Egan
Photo courtesy of Jasmin Egan

Jasmin also acknowledge the help of Bacolod Queen of Mercy Hospital, the Bacolod City Fire Station, Chamber Volunteer Fire Brigade, SM City-Bacolod, the Department of Health, and the Bacolod City Police Office.

Read the transcript of the full interview with Jasmin and the lyrics of the song Hihilom Ang Sugat.

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