The national government’s efforts to help local people have been sporadic, with months in between campaigns, such is the nature of bureaucracies and the maintained focus on seeming to do good. The Phuket Provincial Administration Organisation (PPAO, or OrBorJor) has done much since Rewat Areerob took the reins after the election late last year, and local municipalities also continue to do what they can.
However, in Phuket it has been local people, local business and local municipalities that have done the most to help those unable to help themselves. Keep in mind that the donations provided by the local people and local businesses have come from those who themselves also are suffering under the crushing COVID policies.
The Phuket News openly and strongly supports the efforts by One Phuket, with its major support from 5 Star marine and Sutai Muay Thai, to provide food aid to those unable to buy even basic necessities, as it provides one clear element missing from any relief efforts for local communities: coordinating donations so they can be delivered to hard-hit communities expediently with maximum effectiveness. As with any major aid effort anywhere in the world, it is the coordination that delays assistance from reaching those who need it. One Phuket clears that critical hurdle.
Meanwhile, one aspect of goodwill that has gone unpraised has been the small support by local individuals making small donations of what they can to help those in need. There have been many over the past months, far too many to mention, but they can be identified by checking the official Facebook pages of local municipalities where – though to much distaste to Westerners – photos of the handover of donations are posted.
For those not understanding what they are seeing, every time you see photos of officials handing out small donations to help a specific local community, that is because by law all donation efforts must be organised by the local municipality. The actual donations being handed out have been provided by local people or businesses, or scraped together by the local municipality what from what little budget it is allowed to use to do so.
Many local municipalities have, and continue to play their part, including in providing provisions for communities such as the Rawai sea gypsy village and migrant worker camps placed under lockdown, and to simple local communities that have no way of earning an come to support themselves.
The pressure of financial hardship for many people has not eased, despite the ramblings of a national government that is scrambling from one public relations crisis to another. All the rhetoric about how much the national government is doing in countering the pandemic, and the economic impact of its own anti-COVID policies, the reality is that it has done little to put food on the table for many people at the bottom of the economic ladder.
While that continues, help is still needed. Each contribution to help people suffering financial hardship , no matter how small, is still needed – and if there is one thing to be learned in this country, especially during this crisis, is that there is always someone less fortunate than yourself.