Amidst the continuous heavy rains and floodd brought by the southwest monsoon that carried on until Tuesday, there were a few establishments in the central business district of Makati City that operated with a skeletal crew, with employees who braved flooded streets so as not to abandon their posts despite hazardous weather conditions.
Small businesses such as the 7-Eleven convenience store in the corner Salcedo and V.A. Rufino Sts. continued their operations, with one cashier attendant and one assisting employee to keep the store running.
Sheng Dela Cruz, 20, said she lives near the area. She usually walks from her residence in Pio Del Pilar, Pasong Tamo, to report to work six days a week. Her usual 10-minute stroll was difficult for her, as the Pasong Tamo area was flooded waist-deep.
She reported for work 6 a.m. on Tuesday. Said dela Cruz: “Syempre nabasa ako, baha kasi diyan sa may Pasong Tamo, kaya wala akong choice kung hindi lumusong sa baha [Of course I got wet, it was flooded along Pasong Tamo so I had no choice but to walk through the flood].”
Asked why she did not consider staying home, she said, “wala kasing magkakahera, kaya hindi pwede mag-absent [there won’t be anyone to operate the cashier, so I can’t be absent],” showing much dedication to her that she’s had for six months.
A few security agents were also present in some establishments, as most of the buildings in Makati require 24-hour guards.
Henry Escala, who is a security guard at the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) Salcedo-Makati branch, did not find it hard to report to work which started at 9 a.m. since he lives in Kalayaan Ave. in Makati, which was not a flooded area.
“Madali lang ako nakarating dito, isang FX lang at wala pang traffic [It was easy coming to work, one FX ride without traffic],” Escala said.
He said that unlike on Monday where work was suspended in most parts of Metro Manila, come Tuesday there was no announcement from the bank to close operations in the branch where he works.
“Wala kasing announcement kaya pumasok ako, pero yung mga bahagi na baha wala nang pasok yung mga naka-duty doon [There was no announcement so I reported for work, but employees of those areas that are flooded were not required to report to work],” he said.
Another security guard of a condominium building along Salcedo St. in Makati had been on duty for 24-hours, with the threat of having to cover another 12-hour shift if his reliever who lives in a flooded area does not report for work.
Edsel Paredes, 35, started his shift in the Torre de Salcedo Condominium in Makati City 7 p.m. on Monday and was supposed to end his shift 7 a.m. on Tuesday morning. He said he had no problem coming to work on Monday since his residence near Camp Crame in Quezon City was not flooded, although heavy rains made his trip to work difficult.
But luck was not on his side as his reliever for the morning shift was not able to report for work. That reliever lives in Cainta which was also heavily affected by the rains. If his reliever does not report by 7 p.m. Tuesday night, he said he will have to cover another 12-hour shift which amounts to a 36-hour shift for Paredes.
“Hindi ka kasi pwede mag abandon post, so kailangan talaga mag-sacrifice [I cannot abandon my post so I really have to sacrifice],” Paredes said.
He added that in his line of work, there are no vacations or holidays, and they are not excused to leave there post despite threatening weather conditions unless there will be a security personnel left to guard their designated post.
“Ang problema talaga namin yung pagkain. Ang nakalaan kasi na budget sa pagkain naming ay pang isang shift lang, kaya ngayon na magdadalawang araw na ang shift ko mahirap na makabili ng pagkain. Minsan bibili nalang kami ng noodles para mura, tapos bibili nalang ng P12 na kanin, yun na ang pagkain namin kapag ganitong diretso ang bantay namin [The problem I have is food. We budget our food on a per shift basis, so now that my shift is running for the second day, food is hard to buy. Sometimes we would buy noodles and rice for P12, then that’s what we eat in times when our shift runs like this]” Paredes said.
He added that he also gets help from other security guards in the building who were willing to lend some cash in case he or other workers had problems with purchasing their basic needs.
For P340 to cover a 12-hour shift, some would wonder how Paredes, and most minimum wage earners, can show their dedication and report for work despite life-threatening weather conditions.