As the nation’s medical frontliners battle it out in the hospitals and the retail warriors hold the fort in supermarkets, food stores, and pharmacies, property management personnel are also quietly doing their share to make this quarantine period a little less difficult for their communities.
When the Enhanced Community Quarantine took effect in Luzon on March 17, the service personnel of Century Properties Group reported for duty. Days prior, the teams manning the company’s 58 buildings under its affiliate Century Properties Management, Inc. as well as its client-facing workforce prepared their lockdown contingencies to ensure that essential condominium and office operations will keep running.
As mass transport was suspended and inter-city barricades restricted people from traveling, Century kept a tight watch on its service staff and housed a significant number of them near the project sites for their safety. “Taking care of our residents and tenants means taking good care of our service staff, too. Aside from observing social distancing guidelines we needed to make sure they have proper housing, adequate supplies, and protective gear at work. This is the only way we can continue maintaining the quality of service we give to our residents,” said Rafael Yaptinchay, President of Century Properties Management Inc.
More than 800 Century personnel including security, concierge, engineers, housekeeping, and other property management staff are currently housed near the project sites in various parts of Metro Manila, including the developer’s masterplanned communities in Century City, Acqua Private Residences (Mandaluyong), Azure Urban Resort Residences (Paranaque City), and The Residences at Commonwealth (Quezon City). With further encouragement from their condominium association, team members, and residents, these Century employees make humble sacrifices each day and endure time away from their families to run critical building facilities and continue assisting residents and tenants with their daily needs.
Call of duty
Ronnel Enriquez, housekeeping team leader at the Gramercy Residences at Century City, said the call of duty prevailed when the quarantine was declared. As the country faces a health crisis due to the coronavirus, he knew his role was more important than ever.
“Our work in housekeeping requires us to ensure the building is clean and sanitized to protect the residents and the staff from the virus. I chose to stay here and work to be there for my team members as well. It’s important for the team leader to be there because it motivates the staff to keep going,” he said. Azure amenities supervisor Wilson Caldelaria agrees, saying he had to “be there for his supervisor and for his team to make sure the job gets done.”
Concierge teams are also working round the clock, assisting residents with important errands and helping each unit secure home quarantine passes from respective barangays for their grocery runs. Concierge staff Michael Dimalanta (Gramercy), Anne Beatriz Morales (Knightsbridge Residences at Century City), Stephanie Marth Fernando (Azure), and Trisha Molina (Acqua) embraced their roles of going above and beyond what is expected during this critical time.
“Nandito kami ngayon para magtrabaho, ituloy yung work as a frontliner and magawa pa rin yung service namin (We are here now to continue our work as frontliners and perform our duty). I’m also here to show respect and support my colleagues,” Dimalanta said.
Pillars of strength for their families
When asked what keeps her on high spirits amidst the heavy demands of the job, Fernando said “my family and dedication to serve.” Azure landscaper Arvin Jallorina, Acqua housekeeping staff Lilan-Drew Dela Cruz, and housekeeping staff Jerry Mapalad and security guard Leo Francisco of Knightsbridge are likewise motivated to work to support their families. “Para may pang-tulong din sa pamilya ko, sa mga kapatid ko at tatay ko na hindi nakakapasok ngayon (This is to help my family, my siblings, and my father who are unable to go to work right now),” Jallorina said.
Keeping the peace and order and ensuring emergency preparedness are taken very seriously by Century’s security personnel, something that they train for via crisis response drills every week. “I’m here at work today to ensure the safety and security of our residents and continue our service to all,” said Carlo Capada, security guard at Acqua.
Ritchelle Pena, assistant detachment commander at the Residences at Commonwealth, echoed Capada in his wholehearted expression of commitment to service: “My fundamental duty is to protect lives and properties, maintain peace and order in the vicinity, and to serve the interests of our clients with utmost diligence.”
First one in, last one out
Engineers are also one of the most critical personnel in building operations. Although some are unable to report due to the curfew and checkpoint restrictions, a core team continues to be at the service of Century condominium residents during this time. Mario Lopez of Knightsbridge Engineering said generator sets and other building equipment require frequent checks.
Added engineers Warren Lucilla and Teodoro Salazar of Azure and Acqua, respectively: “We are the first one in and last one out in the building. We ensure all machines and equipment in each tower are running at its most efficient capacity through regular preventive maintenance. We cannot leave our post in this crucial time; that is our passion and commitment in our service.”
Frederick Castillo, an engineer at Gramercy Residences, believes that the spirit of teamwork among his colleagues is helping them through this challenging time. “I’m here to deliver the job properly together with my team. Sama sama kaming nagtutulungan kaya mabilis at maganda ang resulta (The job is delivered fast and with good results because we help each other out),” he said.
Critical back office support done by property management teams (PMO) usually go unnoticed, but Knightsbridge staff Jireh Grace Villamejor doesn’t mind. She, like her other colleagues in the various Century condominium properties, is still reporting to work every day. “The PMO actually caters to all kinds of concerns in the building, coordinates with all the support teams, and finds the best alternatives to help all residents with their concerns,” but she doesn’t mind the work, because “service for me is helping someone wholeheartedly.”
What makes these men and women exemplary service champions? There are many answers, but perhaps it is their selfless act of answering the call to serve even in times of crisis by finding inspiration and strength in one another.
Castillo gave the simplest yet most profound response on what it means to serve: “Service is a commitment. Hindi sya basta trabaho lang. Kailangan gawin ng may dedikasyon. (It has to be delivered with utmost dedication.)”