As a stand-up comedian, Orlando Cruz of Navotas City knows that there is always a reason for people to smile, even in the middle of a pandemic.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic cut the microphone for Cruz and many of his fellow comedians. But despite losing an important source of income, he found hope in his sari-sari store.
Cruz was also fortunate to be selected as one of the beneficiaries of the Sampung Libong Pag-Asa program, an initiative started by former Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano to provide cash aid to the poorest of the poor amidst the ongoing health crisis.
“Yung dati, nangangamba ka na wala kang kakainin. Pero kahit papaano, ngayon ay hindi ako nangangamba kasi meron akong tindahan na napagkukunan ng mga pangangailangan namin,” he said.
(I used to be really worried that I wouldn’t be able to feed myself. But now, I’m no longer anxious about it because I have a small store that can support our needs.)
“Yung sampung libo na ayuda na ibinigay niya (Cayetano) sa akin ay binuhos ko lahat dito sa tindahan ko, kasi dati kokonti lang yung laman ng tindahan ko. Dahil doon, medyo gumanda ang takbo ng sari-sari store,” he said.
(The P10,000 cash aid I received from Cayetano was poured into the store because I was only able to sell a few products before. Because of the cash aid, sales improved.)
The sari-sari store, which grew with the cash aid he received from the Sampung Libong Pag-Asa program, provided Cruz and his family a sense of security despite the recent round of lockdowns in Metro Manila.
“Walang problema na ibinigay na hindi masusulusyunan. Kaya laban lang at manalangin sa Diyos,” he said.
(There’s no problem that cannot be solved. Keep on fighting and always have faith in God.)
During the distribution of cash aid in different parts of the National Capital Region (NCR) on Friday, August 13, Cayetano underlined the importance of supporting both the daily needs and the sources of income of Filipino households affected by the pandemic.
“Ayaw natin ng pantawid lang. Gusto natin pang-ahon. Sa dami ng problema ng ating kababayan, napakaimportante po na may matira, hindi lang sa pang-araw-araw na pangangailangan, pero sa negosyo nila,” he said.
(We need aid that won’t just get us through. We need aid that will help us stand up. With all the problems our fellowmen have to deal with everyday, it’s important that some amount will be left not only for their daily needs but also for their small businesses.)
Two hundred-fifty (250) beneficiaries from the cities of San Juan, Malabon, Muntinlupa, Pasig, and Manila received P10,000 each from the program’s Metro Manila edition.
An additional 62 beneficiaries were also chosen by Cayetano during the Facebook livestream.
This brought the program’s total number of beneficiaries to 8,490.
Watch Orlando Cruz’s video: