FOR more than two weeks now, linemen from Cebu, Davao, Subic, and Pampanga have been working tirelessly to help restore power to the people of Cagayan Province.
They are part of the 28-man team of workers from AboitizPower distribution utilities – Davao Light and Power Co., Visayan Electric Co., and San Fernando Electric Light and Power Co. – who were pulled out from their jobs, travelled hundreds, even thousands of kilometers, with their tools and equipment to help fellow Filipinos in their time of need.
Donald Guibao, a lineman at the Zambales-based Subic EnerZone Corporation (SEZ), was in his office drafting the day’s work orders when he was told he and his team will be sent to the province of Cagayan to help with power restoration efforts there.
Typhoon Ompong had just ravaged Cagayan and nearby provinces a few days back. It felled thousands of power lines, leaving tens of thousands of households, businesses, and vital installations like hospitals without power.
“I saw it as a new set of challenges, which will help our fellow countrymen in Cagayan,” the 34-year-old lineman said as he and his team set out to drive 460 kilometers.
His teammates had to travel even greater distances as they come from Cebu, Davao, and Pampanga.
As of Sunday, October 7, the workers are still in Cagayan. They have been away from their families for some 13 days. But with much work to do, they will stay on for another two weeks, for love of work, and to help their fellow Filipinos.
When the team arrived, they saw scenes of destruction. Torn-off roofs, uprooted trees, and flooded roads and highways greeted the team. While this made power restoration more challenging, they were not disheartened.
“We just thought that the quicker we can restore power in the area, the quicker it would be to ease the hardships of our kababayans in Cagayan,” Guibao said. He was also in Cagayan to help out in the wake of Typhoon Lawin in 2016.
For Guibao and the rest of the team, this latest mission is just another day’s work. But for the people of Cagayan, these linemen’s work serves as a glimmer of hope amid tragic times.
As of October 7, the AboitizPower contingent has re-energized 20,475 homes across 36 barangays in the municipality of Tuao, about 31 kilometers northwest of Tuguegaro City. This marks the completion of power restoration in the municipality, prompting the transfer of the team to another area.
The AboitizPower Distribution Group has set aside P3.043 million for power restoration efforts in Cagayan until October 23.
AboitizPower is working with Cagayan 1 Electric Cooperative 1 (CAGELCO 1), one of two electric cooperatives serving the province of Cagayan, for the power restoration efforts.
“This is not the first time that Aboitiz extended its help. About two years ago, when Typhoon Lawin devastated Cagayan, Aboitiz was among the first to send its linemen. It has always been their practice to send help to typhoon-stricken areas. CAGELCO 1 admires their passion and dedication in delivering our commitment to providing quality service to our member-consumer-owners, most especially during calamities. With this, we truly are grateful,” CAGELCO 1 General Manager Tito Lingan said.
“It is during these times when the Filipino spirit of Bayanihan becomes truly evident. As our hearts go out to those affected by this incident, we will continue to work with our partners in any way we can to help Cagayan get back on its feet,” said Jim Aboitiz, President and Chief Operating Officer of the AboitizPower Distribution Group.
Other Aboitiz business units recently mobilized its people and resources in support of relief efforts for communities affected by Typhoon Ompong, which slammed Northern Luzon and Central Luzon on September 15.