Towards the New Normal W
e are in a phase that face shield with face mask is a must. We are in a time when “digitaliteracy and digitalent” are the essentials. We are in a situation where helping means distancing, be less personal to show personalized concern. This is the new normal and we have to normalize the seemingly taboo before, otherwise we cannot be at pace with the turns and trends of time. Adapting to the new normal at the onset of pandemic, the Davao City Water District continues to be of service while taking the risks and observing the standard health protocols set. In this issue, we banner our intensified offsite customer support services – how we adjusted to the limitations and restrictions brought about by COVID-19. DCWD also supported the relief efforts of the local government through donations of rice and bottled water and augmentation of water supply in the city’s isolation facilities. We also optimized quarantine activities of people at home through the conduct of Kalitrato contest (water conservation amidst the pandemic). The organization’s response to keep its workforce safe yet still productive is aligned to the orders of the Inter-Agency Task Force for COVID-19 and the city’s regulations. This includes provision of the essentials such as the Rapid Diagnostic Test, consequent swab test, mandatory health and safety measures, alternative work arrangement, transportation to and from office, and establishment of isolation facility for employees. As everyone matters in the organization, this issue parades the career movement of employees including the gender and development activities within this period of the year. Kudos to our Human Resource
Department that continues to process appointments despite the constraints, on top of maintaining the health protocols and supporting the well-being of employees. DCWD also adapts to the new normal in collaborating with other partners and stakeholders in conducting various activities using the digital platform such as the first Virtual Econgress and digital literacy program for the people’s organizations in the community. The education and health portals of DCWD’s Dagayday sa Barangay all have their share of accomplishments through donation of sanitation facilities, Brigada Eskwela,, and Tulong-Aral for qualified Eskwela beneficiaries.
This new normal one day becomes the usual, the practices become the norms, and the norms become the metrics by which we attune our working model where we can go about achieving our corporate goals despite the limitations. We adapt, we normalize, and we continue to serve with dignity and honor. After all, that’s what we are here for.
RUTH G. JABINES
We also highlight in this issue DCWD’s continuous operations to ensure sufficient availability of water to maintain hygiene and constant disinfection. Above all else, water indeed is life especially this time of pandemic.
Editor-in-Chief Manager, Community Relations and External Affairs Department firstname.lastname@example.org
May - August 2020
From the GM’s Desk
esperate times call for desperate measures, an idea once propounded by the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates. Indeed, these trying times call for the employment of adequate, unique and responsive measures to lessen the burden of all individuals, especially our concessionaires, our beloved customers. Yes. The pandemic hit us. It hit us hard. Struggles ensue over the country’s economy, social spheres and deep into our personal lives. Most Filipinos display this attitude toward difficulties -- being “RESILIENT” or the ability to quickly recover from difficulty or failure. However, this description also admits to failure, to losing, to lack. As the head of the Davao City Water District, I am adamant to admit to resiliency. I am adamant to admit to failure because we have not succumbed to any form of defeat, especially not to COVID. DCWD is built on strong foundation and solid vision. Throughout this pandemic, DCWD has shown its willingness to comply with health protocols and standards set by the government, innovation
to integrate solution to technological demands, and adaptation to policies set forth to combat and defeat COVID-19. We did not fail. We integrated. We adapted. During this pandemic, we have only one choice – that is to move forward. And as we move forward, we begin to see a model that works during this pandemic, a model that ensures the safety of its employees first while performing its services to the people of Davao City. From enforcing safety protocol to conducting virtual conferences, all of these show the inherent capability of DCWD to adapt to difficult times. This is DCWD’s normalcy, we do things with diplomacy. Rest assured that in this time where water services are most needed, we will not falter. And as we continue to provide safe water to the Davaoeños, may DCWD become an inspiration to its employees and its customers, showing utmost dedication and commitment to further public service amidst COVID-19.
ENGR. EDWIN V. REGALADO General Manager email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
May - August 2020
s a water utility, Davao City Water District’s main mandate is to provide the people of Davao City with 24/7 safe and affordable water. True to its commitment, its main priority is to ensure continuous water supply regardless of circumstances. Thus, most especially during disasters, DCWD has always made sure that water service remains satisfactory for the customers. However, with the COVID-19 pandemic, DCWD along with the other water districts in the country, faced a new challenge.
Of course, the main priority is still to ensure continuous water service to its customers. However, DCWD also had to adapt to the changes brought forth by the several guidelines implemented by the local government to suppress and eliminate the virus. All of which significantly impacted the water utility’s operation. As the first quarter of 2020 neared its end, the COVID-19 pandemic hit close to home. To counter this, preliminary safety protocols were implemented and office operations continued, but when
positive cases continued to rise throughout the country and the Inter-Agency Task Force called for the implementation of Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ), Davao City followed suit. In the ECQ, only essential activities were permitted. Despite closing its doors to customers, temporarily suspending all physical transactions in offices, and the work-from-home arrangement of employees, DCWD ensured continued water supply and customer service.
Water supply availability and safety
nowing full well how important water is in preventing the spread of the virus, DCWD made sure that its essential functions were all in full blast operation to ensure water supply availability and safety. DCWD’s own frontliners were available 24/7 to see to it that all water infrastructures were operating efficiently and water quality were regularly monitored while its quick response teams attended to leak and no water reports round-the-clock. Also, DCWD rescheduled all improvement works that might result to scheduled water service outage to minimize operation downtime.
For areas already experiencing intermittent water supply, DCWD provided immediate and medium-term interventions such as extensive leak detection, production well rehabilitation, and pipeline improvement and/ or replacement works. And while these interventions were still taking shape, water delivery support was provided while observing safety precautions such as wearing of mask and social distancing. May - August 2020
Ensuring service continuity in the midst of the pandemic
Managing the surge of water demand
nticipating the spike in water demand especially in areas where residential connections are concentrated, DCWD launched the Water Conservation Quaran-Tips Campaign to remind customers to avoid non-essential water uses and limit water use to essential needs such as handwashing, bathing, disinfecting, drinking, and cooking.
This was then complemented with a photo contest dubbed as Kalitrato which garnered strong support from the Daveoños with 10 contenders in total. Supposed to be a contest for World Water Day with the theme Mitigating Climate Change through Water Conservation, it became an integral strategy to promote the need for water conservation especially in the midst of the pandemic. The contest ran from March until April and winners were uploaded to DCWD’s Facebook Page to garner
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massive engagement. The entries were then judged according to relevance to the theme or how well the photos captured the theme and the positive effects of the in-photo action/s to the family or community, composition, originality and creativity, and online engagement. Aside from the top three winners, DCWD also determined the winner of the Trending Award, or the photo that garnered the most engagement. All winners and qualifying participants received cash prizes and certificates.
Convenient terms for customers
ognizant of the financial challenges and movement limitations brought by the ECQ, the DCWD Board of Directors thru Board Resolution 20-136 decided to ease the burdens of customers especially those who were barely making ends meet due to loss of jobs or business opportunities. DCWD waived the penalties on water bills with due dates from March 1, 2020 to May 31, 2020. And, to give customers opportunities to recover from the financial impact of the ECQ, DCWD implemented the six-month staggered payment scheme option for the ECQ billing or March to May 2020 water billing. Through this scheme, customers were provided with convenient payments options to settle their ECQ billing without penalties so long as they settle the full amount before the end of 2020. DCWD also suspended the disconnection of delinquent accounts from March 1, 2020 to June 30, 2020. This suspension assured customers of continuous water service, a dire need in the midst of the pandemic. Customers heaved sighs of relief and thanked DCWD for these considerations.
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Offsite customer support channels
or the first time in almost 47 years of operation, DCWD had to close its doors to all customers for a long period, with no certainty when it can re-open to accommodate face-to-face transactions. The challenge was how it can remain connected to its customers despite the quarantine restrictions. Bridging this gap was its 24/7 call center that has had around two decades of experience in offering 24/7 offsite customer support. With established customer transaction portals thru the landline and mobile hotlines, e-mail support, and chat support in its website and Facebook Page, DCWD remained in touch with customers processing their queries, requests, reports, and other concerns.
Throughout the ECQ, DCWD suspended meter reading and water bill deliveries. This is to safeguard the welfare of its employees considering that the pandemic was still a developing situation. In lieu of the actual meter reading, DCWD implemented the average consumption billing from March to May 2020. To help customers monitor their monthly consumption, DCWD used the average consumption billing and provided the telephone and online billing inquiry services.
When the meter reading activities resumed in June 2020 and the actual consumption of all service connections were determined, DCWD released specialized water bills for the June 2020 water billing. This is to provide customers with breakdown of their actual consumption from March to June 2020 billing, and to inform them of their staggered payment computation for their March to May 2020 billing.
Intensified information dissemination
CWD had to make sure that all developments in its operation and services were complemented with efficient information dissemination. Because of the strong social media presence of its Facebook Page with more than 130,000 followers, DCWD intensified its online presence and maximized the Facebook live feature and launched the DCWD INFLOW (Inquiries, / Info, News, Feedback, and Learning on Water) FB Live Program. Added to this was the blow-by-blow announcements of DCWD’s offers to customers and assurance of continued water service. By upping its game in information dissemination, DCWD was able to ease the worries of the Davaoeños.
Support for employees
CWD also made sure that all its employees were well taken care of. Regardless of employment status, employees were provided with financial assistance to allow them to procure and store essentials in bulk so that they may avoid having to regularly frequent crowded areas such as the malls and the market. Despite the work-from-home arrangement, everyone strategized how to continue with their respective responsibilities and maintain communication channels open.
The management also provided interventions to help employees cope up with the changes brought by the pandemic not just in their work but also in their respective personal lives. And, despite the work-from-home set-up, employees provided support among each other by keeping in touch thru regular online conferencing.
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OVID-19 may have suspended the world momentarily, but as more information about the virus came to light and as the government started to ease up restrictions, more establishments were already allowed to re-operate. After around two months, DCWD finally re-opened its doors to the public. However, despite the easing of restrictions, the COVID-19 threat has not been eliminated. Thus, DCWD also prepared the necessary adjustments to adapt to the new normal and to ensure the safety of employees, customers, and all transacting public.
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Water supply availability
ith the lifting of the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ), DCWD anticipated that the water demand from government and commercial establishments would increase as they would start re-operating full blast. Added to this, the water demand among residential connections remained high as students and other workers were still at their respective houses and disinfection measures were constantly practiced. On the side, DCWD made several breakthroughs in the interventions implemented during ECQ among service connections that used to experience long duration of low water pressure to no water. Given these developments, DCWD implemented more projects to ensure sustainable water service among customers including aggressive leak detection and repair, valve management, production well rehabilitation, and various pipeline improvement and expansion.
long with the re-opening of its offices, DCWD had to follow strict health regulations, thus the implementation of these safety protocols:
Social distancing and additional customer waiting area Temperature check, wearing of face masks, and disinfection
GO TO services!
omplementing the efforts of the local government to curb the COVID-19 cases in the city, particularly, the emphasis on stay-at-home reminders, DCWD launched the GO TO or the Get rid Of line, Try Online services.
Online water bill payments DCWD intensified the promotion of its online water bills payment. It also fast-tracked the processing of additional online payment channels to give customers more options to pay their water bills at the comforts of their homes. Online and On-the-line customer support DCWD added more customer service requests that can be processed thru the 24/7 call center to encourage customers to refrain from going out of their houses. It also created a new unit under the Commercial Services Department to cater to phone-in queries and follow-up on frontline transactions especially for services with identified high-risk clients such as the Senior Citizen Discount Privilege. May - August 2020
Employees back-to-work program
he backbone of DCWD’s operation is the employees. Thus, it was paramount to ensure their welfare and provide institutional support to help them adjust to the new normal. Rapid testing Prior to the resumption of physical work in May, all employees went through rapid testing. Employees who experienced symptoms were also subjected to testing as well as newly hired employees. All these were provided for free by DCWD and were carried out by DCWD’s own rapid testing team composed of registered chemists, medical technologists, and nurses. Orientation and strict protocols DCWD had to streamline all issuances from the local and national government in terms of health protocols, quarantine regulations, and other pertinent guidelines including the management of possible positive cases in the workplace. Also, DCWD provided psycho-social interventions to help employees cope better with the new normal. With the mass gathering restrictions, DCWD had to migrate to online platforms to conduct orientations on these developments.
Alternative-WorkArrangement Following the guidelines from the Civil Service Commission, DCWD implemented the Alternative-Work-Arrangement and Support Mechanisms as a preemptive measure to curb the possible spread of COVID-19 in the workplace while ensuring business continuity. Carpooling To protect employees from possibly contracting the virus from public transport, DCWD discouraged public commute and provided carpool support. Quarantine facility Among the challenges faced by the local government in managing the COVID-19 pandemic was the limited isolation facilities. Thus, DCWD put up its own isolation facility to house employees exposed to COVID-19 as they wait for the results of their respective swab tests. In-house triage Considering the cases managed by the local government, DCWD created an in-house triage to facilitate fast contact tracing for possible COVID-19 cases in the workplace. The triage also facilitated the implementation of appropriate protocols such as quarantine, monitoring of suspected cases, swab testing coordination, among others.
Human Resource Department Manager Bernardo D. Delima Jr. orients employees on new office protocols in the new normal.
May - August 2020
Handwashing stations for employees
DCWD Quarantine Facility
Maintaining community and stakeholder relations
ecessary to prevent the spread of COVID-19 was the mass gathering restrictions. This gravely impacted the implementation of most projects intended for community partners and stakeholders. Although there were projects that had to be put on hold in 2020, DCWD was still able to implement the following: Digital literacy of community partners DCWD provided digital literacy to its community partners to help them cope with the changes brought by the new normal. Through this, DCWD was able to resume its projects among scholars, women group, and People’s Organizations. Virtual E-Congress For the first time in more than two decades of implementation, DCWD’s annual summer camp among the youth was held online on July 16 and 17 through the Virtual ECongress themed iConnect, iShare, iRespond… #YouthAct on COVID-19 Pandemic.
Virtual E-Congress for DCWD’s Youth Partners: General Manager Edwin V. Regalado (L) and Community Relations and External Affairs Department Manager Ruth G. Jabines give messages to the participants.
DCWD was able to gather the scholars of Tulong Aral ng DCWD educational support program and students of DCWD’s partner schools in the Patubig sa Eskwela project. They participated in the lectures on environment issues and adapting to the new normal and in the ECO-Teatro and ECO Poster Making contests. Education support Despite the change in learning modalities for school year 2020-2021, DCWD continued its partnership with the Department of Education (DepEd). Observing all safety precautions, DCWD turned over cement, paint, and brushes to 34 public schools in the city in support to the Brigada Eskwela program. DCWD also reinforced its support to public school learners as it inked its agreement with DepEd XI – Davao City Division to continue the Tulong Aral ng DCWD education support for elementary and high school students. Both turnover and signing were done on August 27 with representatives from DCWD headed by Community Relations Division Manager Lorna M. Maxino, DepEd XI – Davao City Division headed by DepEd Schools Division Superintendent Reynaldo M. Guillena, CESO V, and beneficiary schools. Dr. Guillena expressed his sincerest gratitude to DCWD in helping the recipient schools better prepare for the new school year especially with the challenges brought by the pandemic. May - August 2020
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DCWD “GADly” cares amidst the pandemic
CWD’s institutional support to employees to help them better cope with the new normal aligns with the District’s goal of meeting the practical gender needs of its male and female employees. After all, Gender and Development advocacy is not just through structured or formal programs but more so in ways that show compassion and consideration for the needs of others. Indeed, DCWD will continue to care for its male and female employees as it is committed to protect and advance their welfare especially during challenging times. Let us always live the “GADly way of life!”
On Carpooling and Work-from-Home Scheme… “As a commuter, I hesitated to resume office duty for fear of exposure because I would not know who is a virus carrier. I am really afraid of being infected. With the carpool support, I felt more at ease to go on duty despite the pandemic. With the carpool and shorter travel time because I would not be stuck in traffic, I would be able to fulfill my role at home as a mom and I have more time for my child.” - Sheila May S. Bresenio
“As a new father, I really appreciate the work-from-home scheme as I can easily respond to the needs of my wife especially now that we are in a pandemic.” - Javier Sajid
“DepEd’s mode of education shifted to modular and I have to focus on my child in his education. This is an added responsibility considering that I am a single mom. With the work-from-home scheme, I would be able to easily attend to my child when I am at home especially if he has questions about his module.” - Mariz V. Burdeos
“The carpool support and work-from-home scheme are very big help to employees. Both interventions minimized the possibility of contracting COVID-19. Thus, even if I am away from my family due to the nature of my work, at least I know that I am safe and my family would not need to worry about my situation.” - Anonymous, Male
Crystal Flow is the official publication of the Davao City Water District.