While most Filipinos across the country have hunkered down with their family to stay at home amid the threat of COVID-19, health care workers have taken the helm to combat the pandemic.
These frontliners are not alone in the fight against the virus, though. A group of people has been quietly working in the backdrop to help keep the lights on as the crisis looms over the country.
Inside the dormitory of Therma Visayas, Inc. (TVI) in Toledo City, midwest Cebu, Relyn Lazaro wakes up alone. The experience is unusual, being used to waking up in her home in the City of Naga with her husband some 32 kilometers away.
TVI, an AboitizPower subsidiary, implemented a facility quarantine in March as a measure against the pandemic. With this arrangement, manpower inside the facility has been stripped down to a skeleton workforce staying inside the facility for a period of time to prevent potential infections from coming in.
Relyn has been in hotel isolation and facility quarantine for almost a month, the longest time she and her husband have been apart.
“I felt a little guilty during the start of the quarantine because while life is a bit easier here inside the plant— I don’t have to worry about food, it’s easy to do the laundry — my husband is alone at home doing all the chores by himself,” she said.
Relyn is part of the supply chain management team in charge of procuring and deploying materials, contractors, and resources to ensure uninterrupted plant operations. With the enhanced community quarantines (ECQ) and travel bans across the country, her job is far from easy.
With some suppliers crippled due to ongoing virus-mitigating measures, Relyn often has to think outside the box to make sure that materials arrive on-site when they’re needed.
“We’re moving mountains. It’s not just local suppliers, but also international ones. Thankfully we have strong business relationships with our suppliers, so they understand where we’re coming from,” Relyn said.
Relyn’s tenacity to move mountains to bridge gaps also speaks volumes of her determination to help the country despite any difficulties she may face.
“Lisod ilihok nga walay kuryente (It’s hard to move without electricity). Imagine those people staying home without energy to power their electronic devices. If that happens, chances are that they’ll go outside and that will defeat the purpose of the quarantine. Imagine hospitals without power. Lisod pawungan sila og (It’s hard to cut off their) power supply,” Relyn added.
This isn’t the first time Relyn has offered service to the community. She and her husband, along with close friends, have organized and participated in various volunteer work throughout the years.
“The way for us to help the community is to go the extra mile. There will be times that you have to do work that is outside your scope, but you need to do it simply because it needs to be done or because someone needs to do it. So during those times, it would be an honor to be given that opportunity to serve,” Relyn said.