Days before the implementation of enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Metro Manila, Joey Ortaleza was worried that he would not be able to provide for his family. Like most Filipinos, he was already having a hard time making ends meet as a barber due to the restrictions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. The ECQ loomed like a very dark cloud in the horizon, but he did not lose hope. Little did he know that his life and the future of his family would change soon.
Ortaleza was one of the beneficiaries chosen during the August 5, 2021 edition of Sampung Libong Pag-asa, a program mounted by former Alan Peter Cayetano and the Balik sa Tamang Serbiyso (BTS) sa Kongreso to help Filipinos during the pandemic. With the fate of their proposed 10K Ayuda Bill filed in February still in the balance, the group decided to show Congress and the national government just how much hope P10,000 can give to a family.
With the P10,000 cash he received, Ortaleza bought a wide variety accessories like face masks, wet wipes, and mobile phone accessories that he would sell at the barber shop he was working for. From these he now earns as much as P500 a day, a part of which he saves for the future.
“Gusto ko nga po magkaroon sana ng sariling barber shop (I want to put up my own barber shop),” he says, and with the help he received from Cayetano and the BTS, this dream can soon be a reality.
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