To ensure that banking services remain uninterrupted, BDO Unibank, Inc. has kept its branches, ATMs, cash accept machines, and digital channels available with the hard work and resilience of its employees and other bank frontliners like the security and maintenance personnel who support employees as they find ways for clients.
Dan Martinez, a security guard at BDO’s Corporate Center in Makati (CCM), was determined to report to work even if it means walking to the office all the way from Tandang Sora, Quezon City.
“At the start, I didn’t feel myself getting tired since I was walking with colleagues. But when we got to Buendia, my feet and legs started hurting),” Martinez described in the local language his nearly four-hour journey on foot. “It was like we were walking a walk of penance,” he added.
Crisanto Orias, maintenance personnel, also walked for about two hours, from the room he rents in Pasay to BDO’s Corporate Center in Ortigas (CCO). Although his boss advised that attendance was optional, he still decided to work. “I chose to work because I need to fulfill my duty as a father to my two sons,” Orias said.
For four days, Orias walked to and from the office. It wasn’t easy and he said that he had almost given up. But the single father mustered strength from his sons.
His fellow maintenance personnel in CCO, Rovic Amoring, has the same sentiment. He too has a family to support so he also chose to report to work even if it meant walking from Taguig to Ortigas for two hours.
Martinez, Orias, and Amoring know the importance of keeping themselves healthy. They wear protective masks and practice social distancing on their way to the office. At work, they keep their masks on, maintain a safe distance from people, and wash their hands or apply sanitizers as frequently as possible. Orias and Amoring even wear gloves, as they carry out their duties.
A week into the ECQ, BDO offered the option for its security and maintenance personnel to stay-in its headquarters. Martinez accepted the opportunity. So did Mamerto Ramos, a former security guard who now serves as a security driver for employees. He has been working in BDO since October 1986. Living all the way in Bulacan, he appreciated the stay-in option.
“I need to work because life is hard. I need to support, not only my wife and three kids, but also, as the first-born son, my family in San Carlos, Pangasinan. Some of my siblings there don’t have work or can’t work because of the lockdown. I’m grateful for the opportunity to work during this time),” said Ramos.
Jeric Alberina, maintenance personnel, also opted to stay-in another BDO office. On the day of the lockdown, he trudged the streets for four hours, from his house in Barangay Bahay Toro, Quezon City to the office. When he and his colleagues were offered to stay-in that same day, he didn’t think twice. The bank also provides them with breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Orias and Amoring, on the other hand, decided not to stay-in CCO and instead, avail of the bank’s shuttle service. For about a week, the two shared the same shuttle and were fetched from nearby pick-up points. But, when the government mandated a limited number of passengers per vehicle as part of social distancing and its stricter ECQ guidelines, the bank had to cancel its shuttle service.
Orias and Amoring’s supervisor advised them to find bicycles as walking endangered their lives. Orias was able to borrow his neighbor’s mountain bike, shortening his travel from a two-hour walk to a 45-minute ride. As for Amoring, he was finally able to rent a bicycle after losing three days of work to looking for one.
While he appreciated the option to stay-in, security guard Jayson Martirez decided to brave the streets daily, wearing his face mask and driving his motorbike from Payatas, Quezon City to CCM. He added that he appreciated the bank’s kindness in providing those who stay-out with free lunch.
Alberina and Martirez are optimistic that this too will pass. “We will get through this challenge. Let’s keep praying for the welfare of others, especially healthcare professionals and our loved ones),” said Alberina.
“Life goes on despite our situation. God is guiding us as we work,” Martirez added.
To those who are staying home, Orias and Amoring have advised them to just stay at home to protect everyone from this invisible enemy.