MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Tourism paid tribute to the "masked heroes" in the coronavirus pandemic by releasing a video set to the classic Filipino love song "With A Smile" as Luzon enters its 4th week in lockdown.
The video, which features footage of an empty metropolis and stills of medical and service frontliners – from doctors, nurses, janitors, barangay officials, and delivery service providers – was released on Saturday, April 4, just as the Philippines recorded over 3,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
Filipino singer and songwriter Bea Lorenzo sang a cover of the song.
"We thank Ely Buendia, who composed 'With a Smile' for the legendary band, the Eraserheads, for generously allowing the use of his composition to pay them tribute," the DOT said in a post accompanying the video.
"Filipinos are known for their smiles. Even if we can’t see the smiles behind the masks, their warmth can be felt in acts of compassion and kindness. As we wait out the end of this challenging time, let us never forget to show the world who we truly are: a nation of kind, caring, and compassionate people."
The entire Luzon and several provinces, cities, and towns in the Philippines have been in different degrees of quarantine as a way to control the spread of the highly-contagious virus.
In Luzon, mass transportation has been shut down and movement reduced to a bare minimum. The only businesses open in most of Luzon are the essentials – markets, pharmacies, grocery stores, and the like. Curfews are in place in various cities, with domestic air travel operations almost completely shut down.
The Philippine government earlier earmarked over P14 billion for the Tourism department's projects from of a P27.1-billion package to fight the pandemic and sectors most affected by it. Of the amount, P12 billion has been earmarked to be turned over to the treasury, according to the DOT.
In early March, government estimates pegged the potential loss of tourism revenues to the novel coronavirus threat at P42.9 billion. – Rappler.com