MISSING family members is the greatest challenge faced by Mandaue City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (DRRMO) employees.
They have not been home since the city was placed under a state of enhanced community quarantine at the end of March.
DRRMO personnel and responders are afraid of infecting their families with the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) since they often respond to cases related to the viral disease.
Yet they all tested negative during a rapid diagnostic test.
There are 93 DRRMO personnel and 32 personnel of the Mandaue City Command Center on duty for 24 hours.
DRRMO operations chief Felix Suico Jr. said it was a collective decision that all personnel would stay together. They made the parking building of Mandaue City Hall their quarters.
On-duty personnel work on the ground floor of the parking building, while off-duty personnel rest on the third floor.
The City had provided them with folding beds but some brought tents.
They are allowed to go home once a week to fetch clothes.
For Suico, he usually goes home at 1 a.m. once a week to fetch clothes on the porch. That way, his children and other relatives are already asleep.
Although he misses them a lot, Suico said he always put their safety first.
He said the daily video call with his family is not enough since he cannot hug them.
For 50-year-old Romeo Tibon II, the thought of contracting Covid-19 made him tremble as he could end up harming his family.
He has been working for 28 years as an emergency medical responder for DRRMO and he is proud of his work as a frontliner amid the global health crisis.
He looks forward to going home to the family when the crisis ends.
Taking vitamins, having enough sleep and eating right are Tibon’s ways of protecting himself from the disease.
DRRMO deputy operations chief Mario Perez, said all of them are always thinking about their family, especially since they face Covid-19 every day, but they’ve taken extra measures to avoid infection.
Not all personnel are staying in the parking building, though. Those who had contact with a Covid-19 patient have been placed on isolation at the DRRMO substation in Barangay Subangdaku. (KFD)