Frontliner Story #9: Antonio de los Angeles Jr.

Working from Home During the Pandemic

By Cielo Jabe Saco and Michelle Guerrero

Edited by Serina Mara Alonzo

Frontliner sourcing by Jana Reynaldo

“Work hard; spend more time with family.” A twist in the tagline of one of the leading telecommunication companies around the country was how Antonio de los Angeles Jr. described his mantra as a present-day employee and father.

Antonio is one of society’s frontliner fathers — balancing work and being a dad amid the pandemic. He currently works as a unit head of enterprise risk managers at one of the top universal banks in the Philippines while being a father of two. He has been in the banking industry for more than ten years. His work comprises handling renewals, new applications for loans, evaluation of an applicant’s needs, and how business goes. At home, he described life as, “happily married with two wonderful kids who make us proud…”

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Poster by Renz Michael

Prior to the Covid-19 outbreak, Antonio was determined to balance his time between work and home. His weekdays are allocated for work, while weekends are dedicated to his family and himself; he makes sure that he does not only fulfill his duty as an employee, but also as a loving father and husband to his family.

During the first four weeks of the pandemic, Antonio was forced to work from home. However, it was not as efficient as going to the office. There was a noticeable increase in his workload: loan portfolios waiting to be reviewed and dealing with the risk of businesses having a hard time meeting their financial obligations to their company from the drastic decrease in economic activity due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a consequence, his family and personal life were slightly compromised. Fortunately, starting June, he was able to go back working inside the office.

Antonio’s work entails a lot of paperwork which cannot be brought home and has to be safely kept at the bank. The lack of system to perform what is needed for work was Antonio’s greatest challenge but he added that the bank he works for has been very supportive in meeting demands. Freedom to blended work and additional benefits were also given, including the provision of personal protective equipment (PPE) and even online doctor consultations. With this, he was able to spend more time with his family and perform his responsibilities as an employee more efficiently as he has more autonomy and flexibility in his work.

Despite the changes he faced with the work from home setup, Antonio chose to see this as an opportunity to make his family grow closer to each other. They did chores and repairs together, even exploring new hobbies like planting and maintaining indoor plants to give their home and his office a touch of green and fresh air. He appreciates this setup because it somehow diverted his attention from the problems that has been happening all over the world, which can be quite overwhelming.

Antonio says that he is still fortunate because he can still say that his life, despite the changes in his work, has been normal so far. He can still go out and do the groceries for his family and go to work, except that it’s more limited now.

Antonio goes to say, “I’m so lucky, I’m one of the more fortunate ones. Apart from the employer’s support, I’m lucky na may trabaho ako at ganun ang employer ko.”

He also encouraged his fellow Filipino frontliners to spend more quality time with family, since there is nothing certain nowadays, especially that the world is facing a pandemic. “If you go into war, and nasa frontline ka, kilala mo kung sino at ano ang kalaban mo. In this particular case, itong pandemic, kaharap mo na pero hindi mo alam na siya yung kaaway,” Antonio adds.

Additionally, he reminded everyone to practice social distancing and maintain proper hygiene at all times. He shared his ways to keep their household as safe and sanitized as possible, such as immediately washing the clothes used outside, a foot bath, and disinfecting surfaces using Chlorine solution.

He also recognizes the implications of the pandemic not only on the physical health, but also on the mental health of the people and encourages them to seek professional help if needed. As for Antonio, he diverts his attention by being productive.

Antonio commends his fellow Filipinos for displaying exceptional courage, creativity, and resilience in the face of this pandemic. He prays that a cure will be found very soon so that those who have been gravely affected by this crisis may be able to recover completely. He admitted that he wanted to work from home because of health reasons, but still go out so that he can provide for his family.

Having mentioned earlier that he is one of the lucky ones who are still employed despite the ongoing pandemic, his family donates their “ayuda” to those who need it more.

“Susuka pero hindi susuko” were Antonio’s parting words. He adds, “Pag sumuko ka, talo ka. So kahit sumuka ka, wag kang susuko. Patience will be tested. Habaan pa. Keep the faith. At the end of the day, Siya pa rin ang tutulong sa atin.”

Antonio de los Angeles, Jr. is just one of the many Filipino frontliner fathers who are braving this pandemic through their hardwork. Despite the threats to their health and safety, they are determined to serve their fellow Filipinos and provide for their family. They are the modern heroes who deserve more than just applause and encouraging messages, but also the benefits they deserve for sacrificing more than they should, for their families and for the Filipino people.

Mabuhay ang mga amang Filipino frontliners!

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