Lineman recalls Odette: We worked long hours to bring back power to south Cebu
CEBU, Philippines — Rain or shine, linemen work all day.
They were among the emergency workers who went beyond the call of duty to help others.
Linemen were first responders who get back to work right after the onslaught of Super Typhoon Odette in Cebu.
The super typhoon left large numbers of fallen trees which damaged power lines in some parts of Cebu last Dec. 16, 2021.
Johnny Saromines, leadman-lineman from Cebu Electric Cooperative I (CEBECO I), looked back on the struggles he faced working after the disaster.
“Pagrestore sa sugang dagitabnon as soon as possible. Lesser ang manpower compared sa na damaged ni Odette. Mga poste nga nahimutang nga dili daplin og karsada kay dili maabot sa atong facilities sama sa boomtruck labi na sa 69kv line,” he said.
(To restore the electric lights as soon as possible. We had lesser manpower compared to the damage that Odette had done. Our facilities cannot like our boomtruck especially the 69KV one cannot reach posts that are not situated at the side of the road.)
“Atong mga wire nangaputol ug mga poste nangabali tungod kay natumbahan sa mga dagkong kahoy. Ang kalisod sa agianan kay daghan mga punoan sa kahoy nangatumba ug nag-ali sa karsada. Dili madretso ang byahe sa mga linemens crew,” he recalled his experience.
(Our electric wires were cut and so were the electric posts because big trees fell on them. We had difficulty passing through the roads because there were a lot trees that fell on the road blocking it. And so the linemen crew could not easily go to an area right away.)
Saromines and other linemen worked even on Sundays and holidays to help restore electricity in the homes of those who were affected by the destruction of typhoon Odette.
Amid the crisis, linemen need to work nonstop to provide service to member-consumers.
“Sa among trabaho isip linemen kinahanglan jud ug taas nga pasensya kay duna gyod mga membro konsumedor nga ang ilahang personal interest maoy gusto matuman. Wala mag-hunahuna kung unsa kalisod ang nahi-aguman namong nga linemen,” Saromines said.
(In our work as linemen, we need to have a big amount of patience because there are member consumers who only think of their personal interest and they only wanted this to be done. They did not think of how difficult the linemen had gone through.)
But for Saromines, seeing the joy of the residents having the power back at home is priceless.
“Despite sa maong panghitabo, bisag naa sa kakapoy ang among trabaho kay malipayon gihapon mi magsud-ong sa mga membro consumedor sa tam-is nila nga pahiyom ug malipayon kay napasiga na ang sugang dagitabnon bisan pa man nga ang ilang dakong balay nahimo nalang barong-barong,” he said.
(Despite what happened, even when we are so tired, we are still happy to see the sweet smiles of our member consumers and the happy faces when power is restored in their big house which has been made into a small hut by the typhoon.)
Lesson learned after Odette
The destructive typhoon is one that we, Cebuanos, will never forget. However, its lesson made us stronger and more resilient.
“Bisan pa man sa mga panghitabo nga dili nato matag-an ug mapugngan, kita kinahanglan kanunayng andam,” he said.
(Even with what happened that we cannot foresee and stop, we need to be prepared always.)
“Tungod sa atong nahiaguman, naa na tay idea unsaon pagstrategize or pagpaagi para mabalik pagpasiga dayon ang sugang dagitabnon kung ugaling mobalik ang susama kabangis sa bagyong Odette,” Saromines said.
(Because of what we had gone through, we now have an idea on how to strategize or how to find a way to return power if we can encounter again a typhoon that is as destructive as typhoon Odette.)
CEBECO 1, where Saromines works as a lineman, serves Carcar City and the municipalities of Dalaguete, Boljoon, Oslob, Santander, Samboan, Moalboal, Ginatilan, Alcoy, Badian, Alcantara, Ronda, Sibonga, Malabuyoc, Barili, Argao, Dumanjug, and Alegria.
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