Farmers are among the most hardworking people, ensuring food security and serving as the country’s backbone on a day to day basis. However, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, farmers face the difficulty of providing for their own needs.
The October 11, 2021 episode of Sampung Libong Pag-asa featured the story of Lilian Hernandez, a resilient farmer who was selected as a beneficiary for Cayetano’s program on June 15, 2021.
Hernandez lives in San Pablo City, Laguna with her husband Eufronio and their four children. They used to earn P100-P150 a day by selling kakanin (rice cakes) and P6,000-P9,000 a week by selling vegetables, primarily ginger.
“Kaya ko naman napili ang luya kasi ang luya, one year bago mo mapakinabangan. Makakapagtrabaho ako ng ibang bagay kagaya ng construction, pag-eelectrical, ganyan. Siguro kumikita kami diyan ng hanggang otsenta-mil, labas alis ng gastos,” Eufronio Hernandez said.
(We chose to plant ginger because it takes one year before you can harvest it. I can work on other things like construction, electrical, that kind of thing. We were earning up to P80,000 a year, give or take.)
However, the combined income decreased to P750 a week or P3,000 a month when the pandemic started. To compensate for the situation, Lilian accepted a job as a babysitter for P500 a day.
When she was selected as a beneficiary for the 10K Ayuda, she and her husband made sure to put the financial stimulus to practical use.
“Yung 10,000 na ibinigay sa akin ni misis, gamit ko sa aking luyahan. Pambili ng abono yung pitong libo. At yung tatlong libo ay talagang ginamit namin sa pag-eenroll ng mga bata,” they explained.
(The P10,000 that my wife gave me, we used it for the ginger farm. We used P7,000 to buy fertilizer. The remaining P3,000 was used to enroll our children in school.)
Now, they are earning up to P2,500-P3,000 a week. Thankful for Cayetano’s livelihood program, Eufronio urged other farmers not to give up and to keep tending to their crops.
“Kapag nalugi, huwag susuko. Tanim pa uli, baka sa susunod tumama na. Tayo ay tumatawag sa Panginoon at tayo ay huwag susuko. Lakasan natin ang ating loob. Tayo ay gagabayan ng ating Panginoon,” he said.
(When you don’t break even or earn enough, don’t give up. Plant again, maybe the next time you will have a good harvest. We call on the Lord and so we should not give up. Let us have strength, the Lord will be with us.)
The Hernandez family are just one of the thousands of Sampung Libong Pag-asa beneficiaries. As of October 8, a total of 11,882 Filipinos have been selected to receive the P10,000 cash aid.
Cayetano and his group Balik sa Tamang Serbisyo (BTS) sa Kongreso hope that thousands more Filipinos will be able to receive the financial stimulus to help them bounce back during the pandemic and get the economy moving.
“Sobra ang pananampalataya ko sa Diyos dahil talagang hindi kami Niya pinababayaan. At ginamit niya si Senator Peter Cayetano para kami ay magkaroon ng maayos na buhay,” Eufronio said.
(I have so much faith in God because He really doesn’t leave us alone. And he used Senator Peter Cayetano to help us have a good life.)