Micro-Stories of Light: Starlink Satellites for Ukraine & The PHilippines’ Move to Alert Level 1

Written by: Joaquin

Edited by: Jaeho

Visual by: Summer

With the recent controversies surrounding the Russia-Ukraine conflict and gas prices surging all around the world, looking through our newsfeeds can prove to be a very hard thing to do right now. However, between all this disorder and turmoil, here are some micro-stories of light to brighten your day:

1. Ukraine receives Starlink satellites from Elon Musk for uninterrupted signal in the country 

At the request of Ukrainian Vice-Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov, Elon Musk has shipped the necessary equipment for his Starlink service to Ukraine.

Maintaining internet access is difficult as a result of the country’s telecommunications infrastructure being attacked by the Russian air force, which has greatly affected the country’s signal and telecommunications. Disruptions have also impacted vital sectors of the economy, as well as journalists’ and people’s ability to report on events in Ukraine. Technologies like Starlink can provide an alternative to fiber, and they naturally reach areas that have been impacted by the attacks which no longer have signal or wifi connection.

Starlink is a satellite broadband service developed by Musk’s business SpaceX to give global internet access by saturating low Earth orbit with hundreds of tiny satellites. A satellite dish is connected to a wireless network by the Starlink hardware. All that is required for power is a regular wall plug, making Starlink an imperative resource for Ukraine where the power required to operate other devices is unstable and scarce.

It took Elon just ten hours to ensure the service was active across all of Ukraine and to prepare a shipment of additional Starlink terminals, which arrived on February 28th. While the delivery of these satellites will provide great help for Ukraine and its people, it is only a small story in this massive Ukraine conflict.  Add a last sentence tying all of your ideas together and showing why it’s a microstory 

2. The Philippines shifts to Alert Level 1

Nearly three years after the arrival of COVID-19 in the Philippines, Metro Manila and 38 other areas have had the fewest health restrictions since Tuesday, March 1. This comes as infections have continued to decrease alongside hospital admissions, easing restrictions and worries.

The Filipino government’s coronavirus task team decided to put the National Capital Region and 38 other localities on this level until at least March 15. Establishments and public transportation are authorized to operate at full capacity here. This means that everyone is now able to enjoy the facilities once unavailable, such as malls, restaurants, cinemas, and sports.  

While moving to Alert Level 1 puts the public closer to “living with the virus,” it does not mean Filipinos can relax their guard against COVID-19, according to Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire. This means that while our daily lives start to become more similar to pre-pandemic, it is not yet the same.  

Alert Level 1 is a sort of “in-between” pre-pandemic life and lockdowns phase, according to health officials, in which COVID-19 isn’t as serious an emergency as it was two years ago, but is not yet to the point where it can be called an endemic in the country.

While limitations have eased, the government has continued to emphasize citizen health by enacting rules such as that masks must be properly worn at all times, in both indoor and outdoor settings as well as private and public business.  Exceptions will only be allowed when eating and drinking, participating in sports within venues that fulfill ventilation regulations, and undertaking outdoor workouts where physical separation is still required. These rules will allow us to return to normalcy in a safe and steady manner. 

This is great news for our community, as over the last two years, with the various lockdowns and quarantines, we have lost a lot of time to make valuable memories.With this shift down to Level 1 we will be able to make up for this lost time and create lifelong memories with our friends and family. Javi, a junior, believes, “It’s great that they finally lowered the alert level down to 1 as with this comes the opening up of Manila which will allow us to be able to enjoy more typical high school activities and make more memories!” 

It is through these stories that we hope to spread positivity and light in a time when our news feeds are so full of the appalling and saddening situation in Ukraine, as well as another year of Covid news. Although it is necessary to keep oneself informed of current events throughout the world, both positive and negative, we must also look for these micro-stories of light to brighten our days.