If history will remember men of great virtues, of those who lived a life of sacrifice for the common good, and if the world were to become a better place to live in because of the deeds of extraordinary individuals, His Majesty the King truly deserves a place among all the exalted pages of mankind’s narratives.
Today, as the world remain shaken by the pangs of an unseen enemy in the form of an viral pandemic, our tiny nation has lived to wither the gales as, despite massive loss of lives across the globe that run into the millions, we have achieved to at least curtail the daunting repercussions to befall on our citizens.
Almost two years ago when Bhutan saw the first case of the virus enter our soil, many believed that it was just a matter of time and that the pandemic will sooner or later fizzle out the way it entered. We couldn’t have been much wrong.
However, the wisdom of our leaders, helmed by His Majesty the King, ensured that we were not caught off guard. Two years ago our King warned us that the pandemic will drag on for years and that we should be prepared to make sacrifices and work harder if we were to triumph against the pandemic.
Seeing that thousands would be affected through loss of jobs and economic opportunities, a National Resilience Fund (NRF) was established in April 2020 upon the command of His Majesty to provide economic relief to all affected through the Druk Gyalpo’s Relief Kidu (DGRK).
The relief kidu came as a huge relief for people, especially those in the lower income bracket, to continue with their lives while loan waivers were also provided to individuals so that financial burdens to pay debts wouldn’t add salt to the people’s already gaping wound.
A massive program to construct homes to house people who were living outside of Bhutan’s borders due to lack of housing infrastructures was also initiated at Amochhu in Phuentsholing. These inventiveness not only ensured that the thousands who were pouring in into the country had a decent roof over their heads, but also guaranteed that they were closer home and in the comfort of their loved ones.
Further, His Majesty also commanded that every single Bhutanese receive the vaccines and ensured that all costs will be borne by the state. While bigger countries with fatter economies struggled to vaccinate their citizens, Bhutan stepped a notch higher as it vaccinated all eligible population including the third booster dose. None of our neighboring countries has come close in this initiative.
And, ever since the pandemic began, His Majesty has been personally involved in ensuring the safety of the people, travelling on foot for several days and months across the borders and monitoring the preventive measures at place. The Royal Guest House in Mongar was also transformed into a COVID hospital, and the list goes on.
Bhutan remains at the crossroads of change, and with His Majesty at the helm everything now seems possible and on the right track.