Water easily floods the market when there are heavy rains. The Obero store, named after the family surname of owner Loreta Obero, used to be located right at the heart of the market. When it floods, rice and other products they sell get wet.
Aside from being flood-prone, trash, theft and the presence of rats were also hazards that the Obero family dealt with even on regular days. They also could not stock up on products to sell when there is an impending storm.
“Just last week, it flooded here. That is the main problem. And the trash which clogs the drain causing the flood.”
– Melanne Obero, daughter-in-law of Loreta (see picture below), pointed to the area where their family store used to be.
All members of the family help at the Obero store. Melanne works as a cashier. Together with her sister-in-law Elizabeth, they attended the Business Continuity Planning (BCP) training last year in Calbayog.
“The [BCP] training helped. It gave us ideas on what to do during storms and emergencies. We need to monitor and be prepared. After the training I told my brother in law what we learned. We usually monitor if there is a storm coming and we will get everything ready– gasoline, food, canned goods, emergency light, etc.”
Since the BCP training, there have been changes. In December 2016, Obero store moved to a new and bigger building owned by Loreta’s son. They put in place more safety and preparedness measures.
They have a fire extinguisher, a water hose at the second floor, and a generator. Melanne’s husband maintains the computers and electricity in the store. They have installed twelve CCTV cameras in the building to prevent theft in the area.
“Before, we could not stock up because of the flooding. Now we can.” Melanne relates. They put products at the second floor of the building. They also have a warehouse now that is spacious and flood-free. “We’re really thankful for that.”
“There should be another seminar for us to gain new knowledge and ideas, so we can apply them,” she said.
“I’m always ready. Like a girl scout. We have less problems now since the move. And we are ready.”