Published April 12, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Jay Samson

The stories of everyday heroes show that even in times of crisis, people can rise above themselves and find ways to help those in greater need. In this time of a global pandemic, small acts of selflessness make a difference, and add up to everyone waking up to a better world.

BDO advertorial photo

Helping small businesses

Helping ensure that small businesses have the means to keep their head above water redounds to helping the Philippine economy stay afloat.

Everyday, six men from the BDO Navotas branch – Glenn Zandueta, Alfred Joseph Cruz, FroilanDela Torre, Fernando M. Agad, Jacob Longakit, and Joel Marano Jr. – brave catching COVID-19 to serve the fish traders and brokers of Navotas Fish Port.

Their selflessness and dedication to their work ensures that this vital part of the economy played by this major fish-trading center in Metro Manila remains active.

The same dedication can be seen from Cristine Bernadette Dominico, a team administrator from MSME Santa Maria of BDO Network Bank, as she found an alternative way of getting to her office at BDO Network Bank in Sta. Maria Bulacan.

Every morning, she waits patiently for a “kolong-kolong”—a bicycle cart used to deliver water—to hitch a ride up to the town boundary. From here, she walks across two barangays to get to her work of helping small businesses obtain the funds they need by processing their loan applications.

Keeping the wheels turning

The simple act of getting to work has become a monumental task in the midst of the global pandemic, yet people like Elaine Quiambao and Leonardo Estanio Jr. have shown that if there’s a will, there is certainly a way.

Because of the lockdown, BDO Arranque Branch Manager Tetchie M. Del Mundo said Quiambao, a client service associate who lives in Velasquez, Tondo, has had to bicycle her way from home to the BDO Arranque branch.

Similarly, Estanio, who works as head guard of the bank’s provincial business center in Dagupan, Pangasinan, now has to travel to work six hours daily on a bicycle he borrowed from the company messenger, according to Roderick Landicho of CLG-Merchant Partnerships.

Bayanihan embodied

Sometimes, heroes band together to help other heroes.

To make sure he and his colleagues get to their jobs at the BDO Bohol Tubigon Branch, Leslie D. Ramirez said accounting assistant Tim Diacor Jr. organized daily carpools for his officemates. And at the end of the workday, he does it all over again to get everyone home safe.

Michael Lataquin, Jaspher Hilario, and Louise Angelica Roldan also took the initiative of helping their colleagues at the BDO SM City Iloilo branch, according to Branch Head Shellane T. Dolor.

By providing transportation to officemates who were finding it difficult to go to work every day, they helped ease the difficulties brought by the worldwide pandemic.

For their part, the branch’s Christian Joy Vergabera and Richiel Azarez thought it best to flesh out a skeletal staffing structure based on where employees lived. This enabled everyone to come to work safe and sound and still be able to service clients.

A good deed never goes unrecognized

Times of crisis bring out the best in people.

As experienced by the staff of BDO’s Gingoog branch in Misamis Oriental, the generosity that people expressed during this difficult time extended to both within and outside the bank’s premises.

The bank’s branch head saw to it that all employees, including the security and maintenance personnel, had enough to sustain them during the lockdown period.

But what really warmed the branch people’s hearts was when clients went out of their way to give them protective supplies like face masks, disinfecting alcohol, and face shields.

“It touched my heart knowing that our years of providing service to them did not go unnoticed,” said branch officer Shing Sarguil.

Leadership and followership

“I am so proud of my heroes,” said Nica Espiritu, who works for BDO and BDO Network Bank’s Central Operations Group Vendor Management & Records Warehousing.

“Our boss has been present since the lockdown and never missed a day to report for work and ensure that all business units are well-supported in terms of logistic needs. She leads the team passionately and arranges daily pick-up and delivery of essential materials in this time of pandemic: thermal scanners, gloves, masks, alcohol, and vitamins,” she said.

“Her can-do attitude is so contagious and we learned how to work with the heart and purpose in mind.”

Espiritu also singles out her colleague Anabelle Fernandez, who walks 30 minutes from Pandacan to Savemore – Nagtahan at 5:30 a.m. just to report for work.

“She never complained of the sacrifices she made. Instead she continued to set a good example to the rest of the team.”

Espiritu happily added that Fernandez now doesn’t have to walk in the early morning to get to work; the bank has since provided its employees with a shuttle service.

Food and hope

At the BDO Network Bank in Zamboanga City-Saavedra, one team’s decision to work together helped an entire community.

When one of the barangays in their city of Zamboanga ran short of food because of the lockdown, Leo Francisco, a resident of the barangay and an MSME Account Officer from the bank, immediately took action.

Working together with Team Head Mark Oliver Alegata and CBNG Branch Head Meggy Margarita, they were able to connect with Elena Vargas, a dried fish supplier and one of the bank’s customers.

Elena graciously donated a significant amount of her merchandise and the branch became a channel where the barangay was able to pick up food supplies. The donation gave not only nourishment but also hope for the weary residents.

Thank you for your service

Nowadays, Junelle Celes Verde always passes through checkpoints on his way to workat BDO Network Bank in Guimba, Nueva Ecija. Far from feeling inconvenienced, he admired the hard work and dedication of people who put their lives on the line for the sake of public service.

On March 24, Junelle went out during his lunch break to a nearby grocery store and bought several packs of crackers and biscuits. He then got on his scooter to five different checkpoints between Guimba and Cabanatuan, some of which are out of his usual route, and handed the food to the officers on duty, thanking them for their service.

He returned the following week to give out more food.

“I can only imagine how exhausting and scary their job is. I just wanted to show my appreciation to these frontliners in a way that I can. It is during these times that we need to help each other,” Junelle said.