For sari-sari store owners during the pandemic, a chance to replenish their supplies is a chance to replenish their hope. Factory worker Josephine dela Cruz’s salary from her two-day work week during the pandemic was not enough for her entire family, so she decided to put up a small sari-sari store.
For her part, Gilda San Antonio said her store has been making only a maximum of P1,000 ever since the pandemic. Her husband, on the other hand, earns only P100 a day from his job as a tricycle driver. Both from Bulacan, dela Cruz and Antonio were two of the newest 277 beneficiaries of former House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and his allies’ “Sari-Sari Store Community” program.
On Monday, July 12, they received more than P3,500 each as additional capital for their existing sari-sari store. “Malaking bagay po sa amin at sa pamilya ko po (This is a big help for us and my family),” dela Cruz said as she thanked Cayetano and his allies for the financial support.
The beneficiaries were those who sent their comments through the official Facebook pages of Cayetano and his allies. A total of 250 were preselected while 27 were chosen from the program’s livestream. The 200 beneficiaries from Guiguinto, meanwhile, received an additional P1,500 each from the municipality’s mayor, Ambrosio Cruz Jr. “Kitang-kita niyo po lahat ng beneficiaries natin masisipag po, tinamaan lang talaga ng pandemic. Wala pong tatamad-tamad, talaga lang pong y’ung oportunidad [ay nawala],” Cayetano said during the program’s Facebook Live.
(You can clearly see that all of our beneficiaries are hard-working people who happen to be negatively affected by the pandemic. None of them are lazy, it’s just that opportunities have declined.)
The “Alan’s Sari-Sari Store Community” program was launched by Cayetano and his allies to provide struggling sari-sari store owners with P3,500 amid the pandemic — P2,500 for restocking, and P1,000 for meeting their family’s basic needs. If the beneficiaries are able to grow their business after a month, they will receive an additional P6,500.
The second phase of the program is livelihood training for the beneficiaries. Since its launch on July 6, 2021, “Alan’s Sari-Sari Store Community” has helped more than 400 sari-sari stores across the country. The group is aiming to help a total of 100,000 sari-sari store owners before the end of the year. “At least 25 per area ang pamimigay para maging magkakila-kilala din po sila at malay mo magkaroon din sila ng koneksyon sa business o magsosyo-sosyo din y’ung iba,” Cayetano said.
(We will be giving to at least 25 per area so that they can know each other. Who knows, they might make business connections or partner with each other.)
The former Speaker reiterated his call for those planning to run for President to create a five-year plan together which shall serve as the country’s game plan post-pandemic. Apart from relief measures such as the 10K Ayuda and livelihood programs for micro-enterprises, Cayetano is hoping to push recovery and reform measures, which he said shall lead to the country’s “rebirth”.