Gabby de Vera
BWSI RISES IN A YEAR OF THE GREAT PANDEMIC
By: Gabby de Vera
Since At the start of 2020, the world has been waging its war against the Novel Coronavirus Disease (Covid-19). The effects have been catastrophic: over 220 territories infected, 29 million cases worldwide, 923,000 deaths, as per the World Health Organisation (WHO, September 2020), and innumerable social, economic, financial and institutional costs. Closer to home, the Philippines remains one of Asia’s nations hardest hit by the virus, with 253,000 cases and surpassing 4,100 deaths since the DOH began its tracking in March 2020.
In March 2020, the National Government declared a state of enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) that effectively locked down the macro- and micro-economy. During this period that ran from March thru May, stern restrictions were imposed on any movements and transactions among households, and businesses – thereby cutting off the flow of goods, capital, and society. The heroic task of securing and stabilising the country, as it were, were mostly left to front-liners in the medical and uniformed service, and to essential industries such as banks, food markets, and utilities such as BWSI.
In spite of the pandemic, BWSI Management ensured to carry out its service commitments in water supply availability, quality and pressure to its concessionaires. In accordance with COVID-Interagency Task Force (IATF) guidelines, BWSI Management sought to minimize undue exposure to personnel and dissuade contagion by implementing off- and on- workplace measures and physical safeguards as well as by adopting indefinite skeletal operations for branches. Further, area and branch managers, as well as central support and departments, were tasked to split week-on-week office operations while efficiently maintaining daily technical and administrative operations. Minimum safety orders in terms of personal protective equipment or PPEs, safe distancing, hand-washing, and self-monitoring were also directed.
However, major construction activities were delayed as the mobility of logistics was constrained. Shortened banking hours likewise compelled revenue centers to adjust their administrative schedules. On the customer side, the suspension of public transportation and the worsening viral case count impeded our concessionaires from accomplishing their regular transactions. Some branches saw their financial KPIs wither specifically with respect to monthly collections, accounts receivables, and past-due rates. To resolve this, we applied average bills from March and April especially in zones where the lockdown hit hardest (with meter readers restricted from traditional duty) in some Luzon branches such as Main, Arayat, and Apalit.