With millions of Filipinos ordered to stay indoors at all costs, with fear and panic almost running rampant, with accusations and exhortations being flung around with abandon, one of the biggest triggers for people’s emotions was the post that went around declaring that Grab and FoodPanda PH were suspending services.
Luckily, they thought twice and reinstated service to at least match the schedules of restaurants and fast food joints still desiring to operate.
But for a clear few hours, it was almost like the last straw. How does one survive a quarantine without access to a proper burger or fried chicken or milk tea?
For a clear few hours the value of logistics to our digitally fueled appetites was painfully apparent.
Without the last mile traversed by the thousands of motorcycle delivery guys, Presidential Spokesperson Panelo’s declaration of “walang namamatay sa gutom kung one month lang” would have sorely been put to the test.
But as mentioned, Grab and Food Panda went back in operation. And for awhile at least, our stomachs could rest easy.
But there’s more to this virus-driven lockdown than midnight snacks. There’s medical supplies for patients and front liners, there’s soap and shampoo and alcohol and yes, tissue paper. There’s corned beef, and spam, and bread. With grocery waiting lines reaching up to 5 hours (yes, that’s how long I had to line up) – again people are scouting around for a digital logistics solution.
But there’s a lot of confusion about who can go where to get what. There’s hundreds of home kitchens making their dishes available- if one could get to wherever they were. There are many as well willing to donate or sell alcohol (not the drinking kind, sorry), face masks and even allegedly virus-resistant badges. But in a city on lockdown, with mobility being discouraged, getting the goods across while minimizing exposure is a rocket science level problem.
Wuhan has heroic tales of riders being the outside world lifeline to the millions of quarantined. Of riders braving the worst in order to help others at least feel better. With the thousands of riders collectively available from Grab, Food Panda, LBC Express Inc, GoGo Xpress, Ninja Van Philippines and more, we can have our own heroes. And our cake, too.
Credits to Mia and Lawin Bulatao.