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Residents in Cebu scramble to install internet connection as they work from home

By: Morexette Marie B. Erram - CDN Digital | March 30,2020 - 02:14 PM

CEBU CITY, Philippines – Abby Maranga is a virtual assistant for a business process outsourcing (BPO) firm based in Cebu City. She has not stepped outside her boarding house in Barangay Capitol Site for more than a week.

Abby’s employers have ordered its workers to work from home if it meant preventing possible transmission of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

She told Cebu Daily News that their company gave the directives on March 18, 2020, or a week before the Cebu City Government declared an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

As of March 29, 2020, Cebu City recorded a total of 20 patients with COVID-19, three of whom already succumbed to the disease which is now plaguing the entire world.

Abby, 25, said she has adjusted easily on working from the confines of her own room.

“I prepared for the inevitable before they even declared an ECQ,” said Abby in Cebuano.

But if there’s one thing that strikes her recently, it is the frequent visits of contractors from the country’s biggest telecommunications companies during the days leading to Cebu City’s ECQ.

“My housemates, like me, were told to work from home. But they don’t have stable internet connection. That’s why we’ve seen a lot of linemen installing wires and routers here,” she said in Cebuano.

Luckily for Abby, she decided to have her own internet connection before the ECQ was put in place.

“But it’s still sad hearing stories that some of our housemates have no choice but to ask if they could hitch with those who have stable internet connections,” she added.

Several local governments in Cebu, including Cebu City, urged businesses and private firms to implement telecommuting policies for their workers in line with their declaration for an ECQ, a preventive measure against the spread of COVID-19 by restricting an individual’s movement.

This also prompted employees such as Kate (not her real name) to do put up a small working station inside her house in Talisay City.

Kate, 22, who works as an administrative assistant in a BPO firm also based in Cebu City, said she decided to purchase a prepaid router so that she will have a dedicated internet connection for her work.

“If I’ll connect my laptop to my family’s WiFi connection, chances are that it might just hamper my duties because everyone will be using and the speed will definitely slow down,” she added. /bmjo

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