The UAP professional organization and the Covid-19 virus

May 1, 2020 | By: Arch. Benjamin K. Panganiban, Jr., (as first published in The Manila Times last April 28, 2020)

THIS leadership took the opportunity to communicate with the members of the United Architects of the Philippines (UAP), the National Board of Directors, the chapter presidents and members of the UAP during the period of this coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) through social media for the past few weeks and informed them on what architects have been doing.

We want this enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) period to be a dynamic time for all architects to bond as one. Work for the nation and the organization in many ways possible, putting together our intellect, resources, and efforts as one. Let us mobilize our organization, setting aside differences and politics to be united. And we have appreciated most architects, chapters and districts who have heeded our call.

We have done the following in the comfort of their homes as we have instructed them to do so.

1. Help our frontliners — We did a call for donations and ask you to do this by online banking or on pledges. UAP headquarters became the receiving entity for donations since the system was in place already, and which we documented, acknowledged the donors, and will have the resources liquidated as well. We can purchase the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) like masks online also coming from UAP chapters who have the means and resources to fabricate these PPEs without leaving their homes. We have even called for donations so the Bayanihan Arkitektura can extend more assistance to our less fortunate brothers and sisters. Several chapters had answered this call for donations and even made PPEs.

2. Come up with innovative ideas — This is where our creative ideas can come in without the need to go out of our homes. I have coordinated with UAP emergency architects since the early part of the lockdown as they have partnered with nongovernment organizations. The UAP has submitted various designs for temporary confinement shelters to the Inter-Agency Task Force; Departments of Health, Interior and Local Government, and Public Works and Highways; and the office of Sen. Christopher Lawrence “Bong Go” during the early part when we had the ECQ lockdown.

In the succeeding weeks, more chapters heeded the call of the UAP National in coming out with more creative ideas. We are fortunate these chapters have risen to the occasion and have done their share in support of our frontliners that we have been monitoring.

As for the innovative ideas, we have instructed the members and chapters to inform us of materials needed and we will source it from our friends in the industry who may open their stores for our needs.

3. Our friends in the industry — You can help us make our creative ideas into reality by donating your materials and supplies. We will most appreciate it. Some had responded to our calls, heard us, and kept our communication lines open.

4. Kapihan or Balitaan sa UAP Online — We had the UAP Channel at YouTube and the UAP Keeping You Posted informing our members online. Recently, we had the UAP Balitaan featuring the national president, together with Executive Director Jonathan Manalad, breaking down the details of the eight-point programs for the members and keeping everyone updated on the activities of UAP National.

5. Consolidating documentation — We have been giving updates almost thrice a week of all the activities of the UAP National and various chapters through YouTube and other necessary infographics to inspire other chapters to be active.

6. Contact tracing — The UAP National wants members to inform us if they know of architects who may have the virus so we can coordinate with health workers to save lives.

7. Inform the UAP — This is to notify them of architects that are confined or have succumbed to Covid-19 so the organization can have data validated and extend the necessary assistance to their families.

8. Stimulate the intellect —This can be done by continuous learnings through the UAP Commission on Professional Development, Commission on Education, Committee on Young Architects, and other committees to keep architects abreast of modern trends in the design and construction industry, and possible changes affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The next few weeks will be critical for all of us. The government has been looking at temporary alternative shelters before, then leveled up to alternative permanent shelters. If it gets out of hand, it may even lead to field hospitals or confined tent cities outside our urban places. Food may be scarce and water in dire need. Let us all contribute positively and be part of the solution. Let us avoid negative thoughts and work here as one.

May God be with us.

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