A mother’s love and sacrifice
in the face of Enhanced Community Quarantine

A mother’s love is eternal—nothing in this world or even beyond could ever make that cease.

But in dire situations when a job becomes more than just finishing tasks or fulfilling responsibilities, but a mission to serve, there comes a time when a mother makes a difficult decision.

All our heroic frontliners face this situation in the war against COVID-19. They forget self and family, risking life and limb, just to remain committed to responding to the needs of the people they serve. You may be a doctor, nurse, or a medical worker who are exposed to the danger head-on caring for patients afflicted with the disease, a soldier or cop who assures security, or crucial service personnel, such as grocery clerks, pharmacists, garbage collectors, who see to it that every one’s essential needs are met.

Rosemarie Tirones photo (FINAL)

For a mother who chose to remain at the office to address customer complaints, some that are mostly unsavory to say the least, just to resolve issues concerning Internet connection during the crisis, not being able to attend her daughter’s 18th birthday was heartbreaking.

“Maraming events sa buhay niya that I missed. Pero important kasi itong 18th birthday niya kaya nagkaiyakan kami,” [There are a lot of events in my daughter’s life that I’ve missed. Her 18th birthday is very important and we both cried when I missed it.”] says Rosemarie Tirones, a customer care team leader for PLDT, serving the Visayas and Mindanao regions. Rosemarie chose to stay in PLDT’s Sampaloc Exchange facility during the course of the current Enhanced Community Quarantine as a frontliner to fulfill service tickets for immediate resolution of connection problems or to dispatch field personnel.

“Sa lahat ng birthdays niya, andoon ako at gumigising sa kanya sa umaga. Naiiyak ako kasi hindi naman ako perfect mother dahil working mom ako at marami akong namimiss na mga important events ng anak ko. Pero I see to it na every birthday ng mga anak ko, nandoon ako,” Rosemarie tearfully recounted. [This makes my cry because I know that I’m not a perfect mother. I tend to miss a lot of my daughter’s important events because of my work. But I see to it that I’m present in all her birthdays.”]

“First birthday ito na na-miss out ko.” [This is the first birthday of my daughter that I missed.] She had actually planned a dream vacation with the whole family to Korea to celebrate her daughter’s debut, but with the COVID-19 disease spreading rapidly around the world and flights had been cancelled, they had to forego the overseas trip.

And, with the accumulating work-related issues that need resolution, Rosemarie knew she had to make that painful decision. At first, she was considering other options just like work from home so that she could still spend time with the family during her daughter’s birthday.

But two hours before the lockdown started, Rosemarie chose what was best. Just like all frontliners in the COVID-19 pandemic, Rosemarie made a noble sacrifice, just to answer the needs of customers who are affected by the crisis.

Apart from her genuine concern for PLDT’s customers saddled with connection problems at a time when access and communications are critical, Rosemarie’s dedication to her work lies in her deep and profound gratitude to the company that has been behind her through her most difficult and trying times in the last 25 years.

“Kapag sinabi ni PLDT na stay or extend pa, I will stay out of gratefulness kahit walang compensation. Nadugtungan ni PLDT ng 10 years ang buhay ko because of the healthcare benefits ko as an employee,” stressed Rosemarie. “Diabetic ako. PLDT supported me through my medicines all these years.” [If PLDT would ask me to extend my stay in here, I will stay out of gratefulness even if we’re not compensated. PLDT added 10 years to my life through our employee healthcare benefits. I’m diabetic and PLDT supported me through my medicines all these years.”]

As the crisis wears on, the employees holed up at the Sampaloc Exchange would have their basic needs satisfied—from their three full meals, free of charge, to comfortable sleeping quarters, including a provision for laundry and worship services, such as livestreamed masses from Quiapo Church. But for Rosemarie, interacting with family, especially her daughter, was the most important.

“Wala ka talagang hahanapin dito. Namimiss namin families namin but we make sure na makita sila every night through video call. Iba talaga si PLDT. Ang lokohan namin dito ng mga kasama ko, para na lang kaming nag-abroad,” she laughingly noted. [Everything is complete in here. Though we miss our families, we make sure to connect with them through video calls. PLDT treats us very well. It’s only as if we are just working abroad during this lock-in.”]

Amidst the current crisis, Rosemarie is confident Filipinos will soon overcome this ordeal. “Very resilient and mga Pilipino. Sana bumaba na yung cases ng COVID-19. Sa tingin ko makakaraos tayo, alam mo naman ang Pilipino, kapag nadapa ay babangon ulit.” [Filipinos are very resilient. I really hope that the cases of COVID-19 would be less. I think we’ll be able to get through this together. Us Filipinos, we may stumble but we shall rise again.”

Rosemarie’s story is just one of the many heartwarming tales of PLDT Heroes who are serving as telecom frontliners during the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon. Be inspired and read more of the PLDT Heroes stories at www.pldthome.com.