Former House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano’s cash assistance initiative Sampung Libong Pag-asa took a trip to the North with its latest episode on Wednesday, November 3, 2021.
The program, which gives P10,000 cash assistance to lucky beneficiaries, focused this Wednesday on the flower vendors of the North, with 10 beneficiaries each selected from Cabugao(Ilocos Sur), Alaminos (Pangasinan), and Bangar (La Union).
These distribution activities for the program were led by local government leaders, specifically Ilocos Sur 1st District Rep. Deogracias Victor “DV” B. Savellano, Alaminos Mayor Arth Bryan C. Celeste, and Bangar Mayor Joy Pinzon-Merin.
In addition to the 30 flower vendor beneficiaries, another 20 pre-selected Facebook Live commenters were announced during the episode to receive financial aid.
Each episode of Sampung Libong Pag-asa features a different sector or community of Filipinos that have been badly impacted by the pandemic. Many of the beneficiaries have lost their jobs and their families have struggled to cope with the health crisis.
Wednesday’s episode featured the Philippine flower industry in the North, which has grown over the past three decades because of high local and foreign demand. The province of Benguet alone produces between 25 million to 30 million metric tons of fresh blooms annually, half of which were cut by farmers during the peak season alone.
However, decreased spending and tourism caused by the pandemic has caused the once blooming industry to wilt away. Panagbenga, the Baguio Flower Festival, has not pushed through since the start of the pandemic, meaning huge losses for local flower farmers and vendors.
As the country comes out of celebrating All Souls’ and All Saints’ Days, the value of beauty and comfort that flower vendors offer is undeniable.
Cayetano and his allies in the Balik sa Tamang Serbisyo (BTS) sa Kongreso launched the program to supplement government assistance after their P10K Ayuda Bill was not adopted into Bayanihan 3.
The amount of P10,000 was chosen because it’s enough to provide not only for immediate financial relief but also to give Filipino families the opportunity to put up new businesses and find new income.