Where values are embodied…

On a typical workday of April 14th, VMA Account Supervisor Charmie Mendoza, currently assigned to our Roxas site, received an alarming message from one of the VMAs on duty at the office. VMA Elened Escalera messaged Charmie that she was experiencing various symptoms. “Miss, nalagnat ako now,” the message read, “runny nose kag wala na sense of taste kag smell. Itchy naman akon eyes kag galuha.”

Though battling a range of emotions, mainly panic and fear, Charmie calmly sent out a memo to the rest of her on-site team and the company’s COVID Response Team based in Iloilo. She informed them of the situation and advised everyone to stay at home and monitor possible symptoms. Immediately, our General Manager Joven Suobiron called a meeting with Charmie and Camille Mendoza, another AS and Charmie’s younger sibling, to discuss their plan of action.

The following day, the case was reported to baranggay officials, requesting for Elened to be swabbed immediately. The baranggay personnel informed the Roxas team that once swabbed, the result wouldn’t be available for another three to five days. That wasn’t a good option for the team. The employees reporting in the office had to be informed as soon as possible if they were exposed to the virus or not.

Charmie felt anxious and helpless but knew that she could call on the other VMAs for help. VMA Peter Amancio stepped forward and offered to contact a health professional working at a nearby hospital to help Elened get tested immediately. With private hospitals, test results were often available within hours. Charmie communicated with the COVID Response Team and got the go signal to bring Elened to the hospital.

Already running on minimal hours of sleep, Charmie and Camille wanted to take Elened to the hospital but their house wasn’t near hers. Peter once again stepped up and volunteered to take the sick VMA, at the risk of his own safety. The test was done and all that was left to do was wait.

Keeping a level head at this point would have been near impossible, but none of the Roxas team members wavered. They stood by and offered whatever assistance and support they could give. The results came out.

NEGATIVE! Exhaling a huge sigh of relief, everyone cheered. The worst part was over but Elened still had to monitor her symptoms. In the following days, she continued to update the rest of the team until her condition considerably improved.

There is a lesson to be learned here but amidst the fear and uncertainty, the hardworking people of our Roxas team may not have paid much heed to it — a lesson in selflessness, in service, in community. That is not to say that they do not care for such things; on the contrary, they embody these lessons. To love and care for one’s neighbor; to be of service to others in need; to step up and become a leader when people need a strong voice and a level head.

At the core of this story is the core of our company: Our people. We are humbled to see our employees willingly showing empathy and compassion, going above and beyond their duty when the call arises. This is who we are, who we hope to work with, and who we always strive to become.