Glezerie Sola of Caloocan City has long been in the sari-sari store business. Her reliance on their small store has continually sustained her family of five, but the challenges grew tenfold when the pandemic hit.
“Noong wala pa po y’ung tulong, [ang] kinikita po ng tindahan [namin ay] nasa P200-P300 po a day,” Sola recalled in a prerecorded video shown on the Sari-saring Pag-asa program which was livestreamed on October 14, 2021.
(Before the assistance came, we earned only P200-P300 a day.)
The Sari-saring Pag-asa program was spearheaded by former House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and his allies in Congress to give select sari-sari stores P3,500 to help them restock their inventories.
As of this writing, over 4,300 sari-sari store owners have benefitted from the program.
After receiving her cash aid on September 14, 2021, Sola added a variety of products to sell in her small store, particularly candies, toys, bread, and even balloons. These products, she said, appeal to her community, especially with the children.
Now, her store earns as much as P500 per day, enough to continue stocking her store’s supply as well as sustain the needs of her family. Apart from this, Sola has been able to allocate funds for emergencies.
“Kahit papaano may naitatabi po kami tapos y’un po ginagamit namin kapag nagigipit,” Sola said.
(We are able to save enough, just in case of emergencies.)
“Makakaasa po kayo na y’ung ipinagkaloob ninyo po saking puhunan ay mapapalago ko po sa aming munting tindahan,” she said, addressing Cayetano and his allies.
(We’ll make sure to utilize this cash assistance to its fullest extent.)
Aid for small business owners
During Thursday’s episode, Cayetano addressed the plight of small business owners, many of whom are suffering from the pandemic lockdowns.
“Of course sa mga sari-sari store all over the country, ang dami po lalo na sa mga highly urbanized cities na nagkakaubusan ng pera…at nauubos din ang paninda,” he said.
(We acknowledge that sari-sari stores all over the country, particularly in highly urbanized cities, are having a hard time because of the lack of funds which result in a lack of merchandise sold.)
Cayetano said the government has the funds to cover the assistance to small businesses.
“May pera, may pagkukunan. So ano ba naman po if we set aside P50-P70 billion for small businesses — mga karinderya, sari-sari store, vulcanizing shops,” he said, pertaining to the additional P500 billion in the 2022 national budget.
(There is a budget. We are pushing the government to set aside P50-P70 billion for small businesses like eateries, sari-sari stores, or vulcanizing shops.)