Former Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano announced 50 new beneficiaries for the Sari-Saring Pag-Asa program on Wednesday, November 3, 2021.
The beneficiaries consisted of 25 sari-sari store owners and 25 carinderia owners.
The event, held in Berkeley School of Baguio City, was live streamed on the Former Speaker’s official Facebook page. Cayetano was joined by Taguig 2nd District Rep. Lani L. Cayetano and Baguio City Lone District Rep. Mark O. Go.
The Sari-Saring Pag-Asa program provides store owners with P3,500 for restocking their businesses. This helps ensure not just the businesses’ income but also the circulation of money around the community to contribute to the economy.
“P3,500 ay talagang pangtawid lang siya unlike yung P10,000 na makakabwelo ka pero at least ma jump start niyo ulit ang inyong mga negosyo,” Cayetano said, explaining the difference between the Sari-Saring Pag-asa program and Sampung Libong Pag-asa which provides P10,000 to beneficiaries.
(The P3,500 is really just to bridge for the time being unlike the P10,000 that you can save but at least you can jump start your businesses again.)
Also present during the event were three beneficiaries who had been selected on November 2, 2021 and who shared their experiences and difficulties faced as sari-sari store owners.
“Dati kumikita kami ng P1,000 a day pero maraming ka-kompetensya so nabawasan ang aming sales. Nag-lie low kami ng konti hanggang sa nagsara ang aming sari-sari store. Ang alternate namin ay ang pagtitinda house to house ng mga prutas. Ito ang aming naging negosyo,” beneficiary Thelma Villanueva said.
(We used to earn P1,000 a day but we had a lot of competitors so our sales decreased. We laid low for a bit until eventually, our sari-sari store closed. Our alternative was to sell fruits and go from house to house. This has become our business.)
With the money that she received as a beneficiary, she hopes to be able to revive their sari-sari store. With the stimulus, she can stock up on more goods to sell and increase their income.
Annalyn Bonita, another beneficiary, also hopes to support their livelihood and ease their financial difficulties with the stimulus. After working as an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) in Hong Kong in 2019, she unexpectedly had to return to the Philippines in March 2021 due to her mother’s illness that needed therapy.
Cayetano told Bonita that he has a separate program for those who have family members who are sick.
“For us na either may nanay, tatay, lolo, kapatid, anak na may sakit, we have a separate program ng medical assistance. Kaya pag usapan natin yan mamaya so that we can help,” he said.
(For those of us who have a mother, father, grandfather, brother, or sick child, we have a separate medical assistance program. Let’s talk about that later so that we can help.)
The third beneficiary was Clara Buenavista who sells ice candy and runs a sari-sari store in order to fund her children’s tuition. As a senior citizen, leaving the house during a pandemic poses increased risk. She has to rely on P250 deliveries to the house which takes a toll on their finances.
Cayetano said while he and Rep. Go cannot address all the people’s needs, “at least magamit man lang kami ng Panginoon na tumulong to put you on the right path.”
(Kuya Mark and I cannot meet all the needs of our countrymen but at least the Lord can use us to help put you on the right path.)
To date, the Sari-Saring Pag-asa program has announced 5,111 beneficiaries.