Staying at home during the pandemic has been challenging for most Filipinos, but the local government of Davao City has found a way to encourage its residents to have fun while in lockdown.

Together with partner distributors of Smart Communications, Inc., the LGU organized Davao Cluster Wars and TikTok challenges to keep the public safe from COVID-19. Winners received Smart, TNT, and Sun prepaid load, among other prizes for their participation.

“Davao City’s online competitions brought entertainment and meaningful connections within the community while in the safety of their homes. Keeping families and friends connected through the internet, calls, and messages provided a sense of closeness despite being physically apart,” said Jonathan Dela Cruz, Head for Regional Customer Development in Mindanao.

“The TikTok Challenge was initiated so that people will have something to do at home. We wanted Davaoeños to encourage others that staying home is fun,” said Generose Tecson, Head of Davao City Tourism Operations.

Using Facebook and TikTok apps, participants submitted singing competition entries from the safety of their homes — just like what Johnson Rey “JR” Oclarit did. A resident of Talomo, Davao City, Oclarit has been a musician for over 15 years. However, the COVID-19 pandemic affected his livelihood since all events were cancelled.

“The quarantine really affected our employees and business big time, leaving us with zero income in the next foreseeable months. We also cannot operate until January of next year,” he said, since the city declared a period of mourning and vigilance which put a pause on bar operations and other crowd-drawing events until end-2020.

Through the Davao Cluster Wars contest, Oclarit was able to share his talent to others despite the lockdown. Together with his friend, Jenna Pascual – who works as a professional singer in Shanghai — they won the Long Distance Duet competition.

Oclarit shared, “[The prize] would be of great help not only to us but also to other people who are in need right now. Itabang pa nako ang nadaugan nako na premyo sa mga mas nanginahanglan ug most especially sa akong mga kapwa musikero na nawalaan ug mga hanapbuhay (With the prizes I won, I’ll use it to help those who needs it more and most especially, to help my fellow musicians who lost their livelihood).”

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