Packed with sustained winds of 225 kilometers per hour, Super Typhoon Rolly, the strongest typhoon of 2020, made a landfall over Bato, Catanduanes, at dawn, Sunday, November 1, 2020.
Catanduanes has taken the brunt of the catastrophic phenomena. Its calamitous winds and torrential rains have brought immense devastation to properties, agriculture, and infrastructure. Based on the reports from CNN Philippines and ABS-CBS News, over 10,000 houses and 90% of the structures were severely damaged by the super typhoon's onslaught.
No one could imagine it was once a paradise. The aftermath unveiled a deep pain to the eyes of the Catanduanes folks. Here we go again. As the catch basin of typhoons in the country, this experience is no stranger to the people.
Few days after the onslaught of Super Typhoon Rolly, Kat Muñoz, Manager of the Camalig Bank, Virac Office, and some of her team pursued to visit the Viga Branch Lite. Days had passed, and no one could be contacted from Viga because communication signals were cut. As the anxiety escalated, they tried to contact them through radio announcements, but there was no response to the appeals.
Enduring the thick fast-setting mud brought by the massive floods, the team had no other recourse but to go to Viga. Long hours were spent on the barely passable roads affected by the catastrophe.
Despite the laborious travel, they got to the destination safely. That was the only time when first-hand updates were exchanged.
Resiliency runs in the blood of every Bicolano because they have to be. Its firm foundation is built on the lessons of the past. But be not blinded by its glorification because the underlying factors jab the guts of a more significant social and societal concerns. And it is genuinely manifested in these trying times.
A big-hearted client of the Bank donated a decent amount to the Virac Office, enabling the employees to buy relief goods, mostly food items for temporary consumption.
This one generous act has appealed to CB employees' hearts, invigorating their zeal to serve more to its stakeholders.
Fast forward to the first day of banking operations. Inconveniences in operations were experienced by the region-wide power outage due to the damage to power lines, periodic communications and data connectivity, and transportation. The hard work and resilience of the Virac Office team is a testament to the dedication to serve our clients.
There was an instance when the generator set conked out while the office was in the middle of consolidating the day’s transactions. The team manually recorded everything using the limited resources available. Their dedication to work was tested, and they did what had to be done. Situations like this would not have been achieved without team effort and patience.
To add to their struggles, there were only certain areas where good connectivity was available. They found a strategic spot: the front of the Catanduanes Police Provincial office. Once the connection was established, that was the time the Bank’s Point of Sale (POS) service became available for transactions.
In the spirit of Bayanihan, the police officers accommodated the need to charge the POS device for free. The police officials have also become regular clients of the POS service offered by the Bank.
Stories like these serve as silver linings amidst the difficult times. No accolades are enough to mend the suffering they had to endure. Battling natural catastrophes in the middle of a pandemic could seriously affect one’s stability. Inspiring as it may seem, let that energy turn into watchful eyes and a listening heart because the other side of resiliency lies in the psyche begging the question: “What can I do?”
Jefferson S. Mangurali
Corporate Affairs Department