OFW-turned-store owner receives aid

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Batangas resident Jess Praile was an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) before the pandemic hit. He is one of many Filipinos who have lost their work due to the pandemic.

Dati akong OFW, napauwi dahil nawalan ng trabaho,” Praile said, explaining why he had to shift to operating a small sari-sari store in his hometown.

(I used to be an OFW, but I had to go back home because I was laid off.)

Before he was chosen as a beneficiary of the “Sari-saring Pag-asa” program, Praile struggled to fill his small store of goods to sell to his community.

Kakaunti ang laman nito dahil naubos na ang aming kapital,” Praile recalled.

(This shop used to be bare because we ran out of capital to keep adequate stocks.)

When Praile received the P3,500 aid on September 2, 2021, he replenished his stocks, especially of those items easiest to sell.

Ang maipapayo ko kung gusto niyong lumago pa ang inyong mga negosyo, bilhin niyo y’ung mga malimit bilhin dito sa tindahan niyo tulad ng mga delata, mga soft drinks,” Praile said, hoping this small advice from him could aid similarly situated sari-sari store owners.

(My advice for other sari-sari store owners is that they should stock up on items which sell the fastest in their communities like canned goods and soft drinks.)

Praile’s story was featured in the latest episode of “Sari-saring Pag-asa” on Tuesday, October 26, 2021. The program was live streamed on the official Facebook page of former House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano.

Cayetano has been pushing for the inclusion in Bayanihan 3 of a P10,000 direct stimulus package for all Filipino families and micro-enterprises such as sari-sari store owners.

[Let’s] Pray and work hard. [Para sa] mga senators natin, sa Cabinet, at sa Pangulo natin na i-approve y’ung P200-billion sa idadagdag na P500-billion ay ilagay sa sampung libong ayuda,” Cayetano said in a Facebook live stream held before the program.

(Let’s pray and work hard in the hopes that our senators, cabinet members, and our President would see the necessity of the 10K direct stimulus and approve the proposal to enact it.)

Para lahat ng pamilya ay magkaroon ng tsansa, hindi lang makatawid nitong panahon ng pandemic, kundi magkaroon ng chance na makapagnegosyo at maka-ahon,” he added.

(This is necessary because it gives families a chance to rise above their current situation. The 10K Ayuda will even allow them to start their own businesses.  We need long-term solutions as opposed to band aid solutions.)

The “Sari-saring Pag-asa” program was spearheaded by Cayetano and his allies in the Balik sa Tamang Serbisyo (BTS) sa Kongreso to give select sari-sari stores P3,500 to help them restock their inventories.

This is complemented by Cayetano’s “Sampung Libong Pag-asa” initiative which is a program that gives P10,000 cash aid to Filipinos affected by the pandemic.

The latest episode saw 75 new beneficiaries. Out of the 75 beneficiaries, 45 were sari-sari store owners from Cebu, Negros Occidental, and Bohol.

As of this writing, over 4,700 sari-sari store owners have benefitted from the program.

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