In the past week, linemen from the Visayan Electric Co. have been working tirelessly to help restore power in the province of Albay, which bore the brunt of the strongest typhoon to hit the country this year.
The Cebu-based electric distribution utility sent two teams comprising 11 linemen who arrived in the province on Tuesday, Nov. 10. They were deployed to the town of Tiwi, about 44 kilometers south of the province’s capital Legazpi, where its sister company AP Renewables Inc.’s (APRI) geothermal power plant is located.
As of Sunday, Nov. 15, the Visayan Electric contingent has rehabilitated a total of 40 poles, corrected nine leaning poles, fixed nine broken poles, and retrieved or removed four transformers.
“At first, I was hesitant to go because of COVID-19. But my values compelled me to say yes. Seeing the state of the town in the news moved me,” said Louie Angelo Collera, head of Visayan Electric’s system operations department and part of the 11-man team that traveled 420 kilometers by land and sea to reach Albay.
Super Typhoon “Rolly” (international name: Goni) made landfall in Albay on Sunday morning, Nov. 1, bringing ferocious winds that left in its trail toppled houses, fallen trees and broken communication lines, and causing floods and landslides that inundated homes and drove thousands of residents to emergency shelters.
Major works had to be done when they got there, Collera said, but seeing the people be filled with hope made it all worth it.
“It’s not easy being apart from our loved ones, but we’re happy to serve and live our values. Helping others brings us happiness,” Collera added.
In an advisory posted on its Facebook page, Albay Power and Energy Corporation (APEC), the distribution utility that serves Albay’s 15 towns and three cities, said they are “grateful to the DUs and ECs (electric cooperatives) who sent help to restore electricity in the province.”
Visayan Electric President and Chief Operating Officer Raul Lucero said that now more than ever, Filipinos need to band together.
“With a global health crisis still ongoing and the threat of more typhoons coming before this year ends, it is imperative for us to help one another in any way we can. The strength of our spirit is multiplied when we work hand in hand. Together, we will help Albay build back better,” he said.
On Nov. 7, the Aboitiz Foundation, APRI, and Pilmico extended relief assistance to nearly 9,000 families in areas affected by Typhoon Rolly. Aside from relief goods, the Aboitiz Group also donated construction materials such as GI sheets and plywood to help families rebuild their homes badly damaged by the typhoon.