One of the four functions of the OURmindaNOW messaging hub is the ‘information ecosystem’ among and within its regional nodes. Its potential to form a referral pathway mechanism was again proven during the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis.
It can be recalled that on July 7, 2020, 414 Locally Stranded Individuals (LSIs) from Manila bound for Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi provinces were unceremoniously docked in Cagayan de Oro City. The University of Science and Technology of the Philippines (USTP), the Northern Mindanao Messaging Hub host, received the LSIs and temporarily housed them in their facility.
Information on the sudden uncoordinated arrival of LSIs appeared in various Facebook groups calling for immediate relief response. Messaging hub regional nodes were quick to respond by passing on the information to concerned groups and government task force.
Various groups and government agencies formed part in speeding up assistance efforts. The LSIs were immediately supported with food packs courtesy of the lone representative of Basilan facilitated by JCI–Kagayhaan Gold and The Babu Kwan Restaurant. The Messaging Hub became the venue of discussions and requests for the transportation of the food and to link up with other stakeholders in facilitating the other needs of the LSIs.
With the continuous coordination through USTP, the 414 LSIs were taken home via Cotabato City where they underwent COVID-19 testing, by the 17 buses hired courtesy of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) on July 9, according to Ms. Jennie Tamano, Lanao del Sur Provincial Information Officer and member of the Ranaw Messaging Hub.
Amid the pandemic, where distance matters, the use of social media and active participation break the barriers of face-to-face engagement. Equal Access International and its OURmindaNOW Regional Messaging Hubs continuously work in strengthening its referral pathway by sharing relevant information that seeks a call for social movement.
In March 2020, the ZamPenBaSulTa Messaging Hub organized a relief response and donation drive for the Sulu fire victims. Read here: https://ourmindanow.org/2020/03/06/zampenbasulta-messaging-hub-forwards-help-to-jolo-fire-victims/
The OURmindaNOW Messaging Hub is composed of seven regional nodes: Kutawato, Ranaw, SOX, Northern Mindanao, ZamPenBaSulTa, Davao, Caraga and two sub-regional nodes: Surigao and Basilan. The messaging hub is a platform for social movement composed of various networks working together for a unified cause.