A family for Filipinos means the world. The welfare of a wife, child, father, mother, brother or sister is paramount in any Filipino’s mind, a gritty yet devoted few would deem their purpose and mission to serve the greater many as their calling. Call them by just one word: hero.

In the Philippines, the COVID-19 pandemic grows by the day. As such, frontliners – medical workers, policemen, and volunteers – are in the thick of the battle, still hopeful, whatever the cost.

The same goes for the non-medical frontliners, particularly those who continue basic services to satisfy the essential needs of those affected by the Enhanced Community Quarantine—from grocery storekeepers and pharmacists to bank employees and food delivery crew.

Stepping out of the comfortable presence of their families, they would tread and risk the danger of getting the disease just to offer the services people need during this pandemic. Such are these noble telecom frontliners working for PLDT during the enhanced community quarantine, choosing to stay confined in company facilities or worse, going out on the field, just to assure reliable phone and Internet connections are retained—given that such access is crucial during these trying times.

We’ve talked to five of these PLDT Heroes, and their motivation and inspiration behind their sacrifice:

Deedee Villahermosa

Deedee has been working in PLDT for 30 years. As the Team Head for the Customer Line Resolution Management, her task is to lead her team that assists PLDT Home customers on their service concerns and repairs.

Upon the implementation of the Enhanced Community Quarantine in Luzon, Deedee chose to be away from her family so that she can continue to serve with her team inside the PLDT’s Sampaloc Exchange office. Deedee shares, “While our customers work from home, our internet services are important to them especially during this time. This may be a little sacrifice that we can do for them now so that we can help them stay and work at home.”

Her family in Cebu, co-workers in PLDT, and strong faith continue to motivate her at work now. She explains, “Prayers will move mountains. My faith has strengthened, and I believe that everything will pass. We are uncertain with the COVID-19 virus, but our faith is strong.”

Darwin Barbero

Darwin’s role is to check and resolve connection problems, primarily of PLDT Home customers. He is the dutiful son who has worked in PLDT for the last 7 years. When the Enhanced Community Quarantine was set, Darwin chose to stay inside PLDT’s Sampaloc Exchange so that he could serve customers.

“Before I joined the lock-in arrangement in the office, I talked to my family and girlfriend. I explained to them our office scenario and that even if we don’t see each other temporarily, there are many ways for us to communicate through social media and video calls. While we stay here inside, we are able to help families who are working from home and need a reliable internet connection,” he said.

Jisell Arrabis

Jisell’s responsibility is offering second-line maintenance or troubleshooting for Internet and phone connections at home. If a ticket is not resolved, she would have a field technician deployed to check the problem onsite. A newlywed, Jisell discussed the situation with her husband when she learned of the impending lockdown due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Her husband opposed it at first, but eventually understood. Jisell admitted it was difficult for her. “Sometimes I cry whenever we talk through video chat because I feel like I’m abroad and we’re far from each other. Despite the situation, I’m happy to be of service to our country,” she added.

Eden Prades

Eden’s role is to handle corporate accounts as an incident manager. She is engaged to be married, but with the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, Eden was forced to postpone because she doesn’t want her wedding at a time when the whole world is suffering. Eden has a two-year-old daughter.

When the lock-in was announced, Eden did not have any qualms about being confined in the office for the entire period of the ECQ. “I volunteered to be part of the lock-in team,” Eden pointed out.

While being with colleagues in the office the entire time is what she describes as the “bayanihan spirit” being much alive, and efficiently responding and addressing the concerns of their customers with the thrust of “malasakit” in their resolve, Eden remains concerned about the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic.

Rudsen Vicente

Rudsen’s work entails the support of PLDT technicians, hotline services, and restoration of customer lines.

He is the breadwinner of his young family, with a wife who just gave birth to their weeks-old youngest child. Luckily, his wife was discharged after her delivery days before the ECQ. Before PLDT announced a lock-in arrangement, Rudsen still had time to spend with his family, delightfully treasuring his first moments with his newborn baby.

“I prepared myself and my family for this temporary situation I explained to my family that I couldn’t stay at home because I’m needed at work. Telecommunication services are very important now, especially for our frontliners and healthcare workers. While we’re inside the office, we are able to help them. Our work here is important for everyone,” Rudsen said.

Julius Domalanta

Julius provides second-line maintenance and troubleshooting for Home customers experiencing connection problems. Single, Julius lives with his parents and sisters and is a middle child.

Julius shared that his time off from his family has been the longest ever. “Ito yung pinaka-matagal na panahon na wala ako sa bahay. Feeling ko para akong overseas worker na malayo sa pamilya,” he explained.”

Yet even if he experienced that “strange” separation from his family, Julius said what he was doing was for the good of a lot of people. “I want to contribute by keeping our customers happy and helping them restore their connection as quickly as I can,” she shared.

COVID-19 frontliners, whether you are in the medical field or the service industry such as these PLDT Heroes, share the same commitment and contribution to those directly affected by the crisis—that is, utter selflessness and heroism, sacrificing precious time with the family in the face of uncertainty and dangers to life and limb.

These stories are just among the many heartwarming tales of PLDT Heroes who are serving as telecom frontliners during the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon. Be inspired and read more of the PLDT Heroes stories at www.pldthome.com.


For more news about the novel coronavirus click here.

What you need to know about Coronavirus.

For more information on COVID-19, call the DOH Hotline: (02) 86517800 local 1149/1150.

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