E-book on Filipinos' COVID-19 experience at work to be available online on May 31

Published May 27, 2021, 11:45 AM

by Gabriela Baron

An e-book containing stories of Filipinos’ work-related experiences during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic will be available online on May 31.

(Photo from IOHSAD)

Titled “Kwentong COVID/Kwentong Trabaho” is a project of the workplace safety non-profit group Institute for Occupational Health and Safety Development (IOHSAD).

The e-book contains 67 contributions consisting of essays, testimonies, short stories, poems, and fiction. workers, teachers, health professionals, jeepney drivers, and other sectors.

“We feel that there is a need for workers and other working sectors to document their experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic and for the general public to read these experiences. We have so much to learn from the plight of the country’s workers and working sectors, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic,” IOHSAD Executive Director Nadia De Leon said.

The contributions, according to De Leon, present not only stories of suffering and strengths but working people’s collecting experiences and challenges.

She added that the idea of an e-book emerged from IOHSAD’s conversations with workers about their situation during the pandemic.

“Through these stories, we better understood the situation of workers. We were able to formulate workers’ demands and calls. We were able to craft plans for collective action for workers’ health, livelihood, and rights,” De Leon said.

“We realized that we cannot simply keep these stories in our laptop files, or make these part of social media posts which will be buried into oblivion by other posts. These stories need to be released to the public in a way that they can be retained and returned to, in a way that readers can savor every word and message,” she added.

The e-book’s editor, Teo S. Marasigan, meanwhile, highlighted the need for the e-book despite workplace and other stories being available on social media.

“Here, we have stories coming from ordinary Filipinos, including those who are not always on social media. These stories are not regularly provided to us by the algorithm of our social media accounts and by the powers-that-be. Here, we can focus and reflect on, and feel, narratives and analyses pertaining to a topic that’s very important to the majority of Filipinos,” he said.

The e-book will also feature illustrations by visual artists Melvin Pollero and Beverly Wico Sy and photos from progressive multi-media group Mayday Multimedia.

The e-book will be available for download on Monday on IOHSAD’s Facebook page.