Since the COVID-19 outbreak, staying safe indoors with easy access to the outside world has become both a necessity and a norm for many. But it is made possible through the services of those who risk being out on the streets so that life goes on for the majority of us amid the pandemic.
They are the frontliners of the delivery and logistics companies – men and women who deliver food, groceries and other essentials to our doorsteps, who transport packages we need to send out, and even run errands for us.
Lupin Vela recently completed his first year as a water meter reader for Maynilad, a job that requires him to deliver an average of 500 bills a day to different households. A Computer Science student at Norzagaray College, Vela opted to suspend his studies when classes shifted online due to the pandemic. He also wanted to help his family. “Ako po ang panganay sa apat na magkakapatid, hiwalay din po ang parents ko at parehong walang trabaho. Walang maaasahan sa amin so nag stop muna ako”.
As the nature of his work exposes him to risks, he follows health and safety protocols strictly. “Automatic na po yan sa mga area namin kahit subdivision or squatter, kailangan lagi ang face mask at gumamit ng alcohol.”
Vela shared that even though he found the job extremely tiring at first, he has gotten the hang of it. Whereas it previously took him almost the entire day to finish delivering 500 bills, he can now complete the task in half the time. “The best part sa trabaho ko ay yung experience. Yon iba’t ibang klase ng tao ang makakaharap mo. Yon baha na pero tuloy ka pa rin. Yon papasok ka ng sobrang aga, madilim pa nag re-reading ka na,” he recounts.
Jesse Tague has been driving for UPS since 2010, delivering what matters to households and companies around Pasig City. Tague recalls the one time he delivered an industrial parts package to a client in Kapitolyo. “Nagsisigawan iyon mga employees when they received the package which was critical to their business. Parang nabuhayan silang lahat. It is when we see our customers happy and smiling that we feel we have done a good job.”
Always mindful that the biggest challenge of working in the delivery and logistics sector is safety in the COVID-19 pandemic including keeping his family safe, he follows UPS’s strict health and safety protocols, as well as those of the customers. At work, UPSers are required to wear protective equipment such as face masks in our operations and when interacting with the public at all times. The UPS brown vans are regularly disinfected, especially the interior of the vehicle where packages are loaded. To lessen contact, customers are no longer needed to sign on acknowledgement receipts for their deliveries.
Tague also follows a 10 to 15-minute pre-trip inspection of his brown van that includes checks on fluid levels, tire pressure, lights, brakes, clutch and leaks before he hits the road each morning. “Aside from being work ready with our safety shoes and uniform, dapat physically and mentally ready din kami araw-araw,” he says.
For over a year, Edmon Dominguez has been with AJA! Deliveries, a relief project that started when the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) was implemented with a few donors and volunteer riders but now turned into a business, providing riders with regular income while helping businesses with their delivery requirements. His usual deliveries range widely from parcels, public relations marketing materials, documents and giveaways, to products such as high-end bags and food.
Edmon’s work day starts at 7am where he checks his motorcycle and reviews his delivery route for the day. He enjoys travelling to different parts of the metropolis and provinces, and relishes the feeling of fulfilment when each delivery is successfully completed. “Meron mga challenges pero walang mahirap kung magagawan ng paraan. Kailangan lang maparaan ka bilang isang rider para magampanan mo ng maayos and trabaho mo sa araw araw,” says the father of one daughter. His resourcefulness and dedication was also rewarded with a recent promotion to Operations Supervisor of AJA! Deliveries.
Marites Buison has been delivering Crystal Clear bottled water to homes for the past 15 years. “Kasama ko na sa trabaho ang apat kong anak. Nagde-deliver kami sa mga customers namin araw-araw. Umaabot ito sa mahigit 100 galon ng tubig kada araw,” says the 48-year-old widow and mother of eight. “Lagi ko tinitiyak na maayos at malinis ang mga dini-deliver ko na tubig sa mga customers,” she adds.
Because her customers rely on her for their supply of drinking water, Buison knows it is essential to deliver on time. “Minsan napagalitan na kami dahil sa late delivery. Pero meron din naman natutuwa at nagbibigay ng tip para sa maaga naming pag-deliver sa kanila.” Attention to customer needs and good service are values that Buison wants to pass on to her children.
Eva Averion and her siblings have been busy catering to the growing clientele of their online food business Seven Grace Delights since the start of the pandemic. The single mother of three young kids, Averion comes from a family that’s been in the food business since 1999. “Online selling started in 2018 by reselling native products from Laguna. Initially, I was just doing it part time to earn extra to cover transportation expenses whenever I have to attend a meeting in Makati,” she says. “During the pandemic and especially in the first wave of ECQ, people are afraid to go out and would rather have food delivered to them.”
The delivery part is the most challenging. “The hardest part is locating the addresses, but we have overcome this. Right now, the challenge is to avoid late deliveries because there are clients who’d cancel their order when we arrive late.” In spite of some difficulties, Averion is thankful for their food business as it not only provides a reliable source of income, but it has been a means to meet and befriend clients.
Rain or shine, these frontline heroes of delivery and logistics sectors dutifully soldier on to ensure that daily lives are disrupted as little as possible as we ride out the pandemic. With that, we are more than grateful for all your tireless efforts and commitment to the greater community!