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ONE WITH THE PINOYS: Emirati vlogger Prince Jack initiates aid for Filipinos affected by COVID-19

Prince Jack Abood (PJA) makes rounds online with his initiative for distressed Filipinos

An Emirati vlogger is making rounds online with his aid initiatives that currently help affected Filipinos both in the Philippines and in the UAE.

Abdulrahman Al Hayayi, most commonly known online as Prince Jack Abood, said that while he is a full-blooded UAE local, he grew up admiring the Filipinos because of their resilience and optimism – a reason he started helping them and becoming more active in their community.

Prior to the pandemic, Abood said he was already engrossed in the lives of the Filipinos, creating vlogs that document their day-to-day lives and initiating aid to help those who are distressed.

He added that it was because of his close bond with Filipinos that he learned to speak fluent Tagalog despite not having any formal Filipino lessons.

“Since I was a kid, I have been staying with the Filipino community. I have always been amazed about their positive outlook in life, laughing so hard during parties, but then when they tell their stories when you’re alone with them, you won’t believe the problems they face,” he said.

He added that during the crisis, he saw the real bayanihan spirit of Filipinos—helping each other even if they have their own struggles.

“I saw Filipinos helping each other na kahit sila walang wala na sila, ay nagagawa pa din nilang tumulong,” he said.

Abood added that he started his initiative when he spent his vacation in the Philippine last March, in time for the lockdown measures implemented in Luzon.

“The very next day that I arrived, the Philippine government announced the total lockdown of the country.  Then, I started actively volunteering in the checkpoints installed in our village as Bantay Bayan.  From there, I saw and experienced how hard the situation was.  That’s when I decided to start giving relief goods,” added the influencer.

His aid has inspired even his friends in the UAE to help as well, and when he came back to the country, he continued helping the OFW community—especially those who seek assistance through his Facebook page.

“I am choosing help those who message me. Tatawagan ko sila para malaman ang situation nila tapos doon ko sila pipiliin. I am also giving my relief operations in different areas in the UAE kasi gusto ko ako mismo mag-abot sa kanila,” he added.

Abood noted that those who want to help can start by giving something small, adding that it can give a big impact to those in need. “Kahit maliit man ‘yan, kapag napagsama-sama natin, mas marami tayong matutulungan,” he stressed.

He also encouraged Filipinos not to lose faith and that they should retain the optimism and resilience that they always had amidst this crisis.

“Lagi lang tayong magdadasal at huwag makakalimot kay God.  Mag-iingat palagi at kagaya nga na sinasabi sa isang kanta, itawa lang ang iyong problema,” Abood said.

Jamille Domingo-Marasigan

Jamille Domingo-Marasigan gathers stories on a wide array of topics, particularly on the Philippines, UAE, Saudi, and Bahrain—which are published on The Filipino Times Newspaper, The Filipino Times Website, and The Filipino Times Newsletter. She also presents the news on cam in the pre-recorded daily broadcast of The Filipino Times Newsbreak—a run-through of the most important events of the day, reaching 5,000 to 20,000 views—to deliver stories to audiences inclined to audio-visual content online. For recommendations and story pitches, you can reach her at [email protected]

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