Amidst the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis, frontliners are considered modern-day heroes. While everybody else stay at home to protect themselves, they selflessly dedicate their time and effort to fight the disease to help bring normalcy in the lives of Filipinos. This includes our courageous grocery workers, medical workers, and members of the police and military forces.
Loida Ongteco – de Vera (in blue shirt), an SM Foundation scholar alumna, with her colleagues ensuring that their stores have adequate stocks of products for their customers during the ECQ
Loida Ongteco de Vera
Operations Manager for SM Markets South Luzon
One example of this is an SM Foundation scholar alumna, Loida Ongteco - de Vera, who currently works as Operations Manager for SM Markets handling South Luzon operations. As Operations Manager, Loida ensures that all SM Markets branches under her watch are all operational and ready to serve all customers.
According to Loida, the SM Markets team knows the danger and challenges that they will be facing. But their dedication to help and serve is bigger than COVID-19. Everyone tries to pitch in what they can to make sure that they have enough provisions and that the customers are safe.
“I am proud to work side by side with my dedicated colleagues. It is not an easy task, but our team is committed to do it. What drives us is the fact that our customers need our service especially during these trying times. And I know that by serving our customers wholeheartedly, we are also serving God,” she said.
“We will continue to brave and beat the odds to help the people that needs our service because we believe that it is our mission. We will continue to work hard to provide the basic goods needed by consumers in these difficult times” Loida further shared.
Another SMFI scholar alumna frontliner is Abigail Malabag who is also a Quezon City resident. She shared how lucky she is to finish her college degree through the help of SM Foundation.
Now, she serves as one of the frontliners in our fight against COVID-19. Abigail is a Biomedical Engineer in a hospital and part of her job is to ensure that all medical equipment, especially those being used in treating COVID-19 patients, are in good condition.
“Everyone's safety is our top priority. I am happy and thankful that despite this pandemic we are facing today, I am able to support our frontliners by ensuring that all our medical equipment are in good condition,” Abigail said. According to Abigail, her greatest takeaway as an SM Foundation scholar was to give back to the society and to serve her fellow Filipinos, whenever she has an opportunity to do so.
“Pay it forward - this is the lesson you taught to us, Tatang,” referring to the late SM patriarch Henry Sy Sr.
“I will always show how grateful I am as one of your scholars by sharing what I can do and what I have to others. Showing kindness, respect, and love goes a long way in curbing the spread of this disease,” she ended.
Air Force 1st Lt. Danzel Bacaycay led SMFI’s donation of PPEs and medical supplies at Mactan Benito Ebuen Airbase in Lapu-Lapu City
Air Force Lt. Danzel Bacaycay
Chief of Public Affairs and Special Disbursing Officer of the Air Mobility Command at the Philippine Air Force
Another SM Pride is SM Scholar alumna Air force LT Danzel Bacaycay. She leads a team of frontliners manning the quarantine control points in Mandaue City, Cebu, in addition to her tasks as the Chief of Public Affairs and Special Disbursing Officer of the Air Mobility Command at the Philippine Air Force (PAF).
Danzel finished BS Accountancy at the Asia Pacific College in 2011.She takes pride in her SM scholarship which she said, taught her the values of perseverance, hard work, and planning ahead to achieve one’s dreams.
Lt. Danzel Bacaycay tells jeepney passengers to maintain social distancing
After finishing her tertiary education, and with her family’s support, she then pursued a career in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to become an Air Force officer instead. According to Danzel, “At first, it was my dream to be a Certified Public Accountant, but then I realized what I really wanted to be – which is to be able to serve the country and the Filipino people. And I thought the way of realizing this dream is by joining the AFP.”
Danzel entered the military service on August 1, 2012 and graduated the PAF Officer Candidate School and was commissioned as an officer on October 11, 2013.
“In the Air Force, we have an opportunity to have a career. To move up and be promoted to the next higher rank, one must take and pass the Professional Military Education, and also specialization courses. These include written and physical fitness tests which all require perseverance. Having the values of an SM Scholar helped me achieve my goals in my military career,” she highlighted.
In active duty at a checkpoint in Mandaue City, Cebu, Air Force Lt. Danzel Bacaycay leads the Air Force team
She has always been in touch with the SM Foundation team even after finishing college, thus she was able to facilitate the donation of SMFI composed of personal protective equipment and medical supplies to frontliners in BGen Benito N. Ebuen Air Base Hospital and nearby communities in Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu.