Sari-sari store owners from Bulacan, Pampanga, and Zambales on Tuesday received additional capital from former House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and his allies’ Sari-Saring Pag-Asa program.
In the 16th episode of Sari-Saring Pag-Asa on October 5, 2021, a total of 45 sari-sari store owners were given P3,500 each to replenish their store products amid the pandemic.
Launched on July 6, 2021, the Sari-Saring Pag-Asa program was organized by Cayetano and his allies from the Balik sa Tamang Serbisyo (BTS) sa Kongreso with the aim of providing extra capital for sari-sari stores that are on the brink of closing down due to the pandemic.
“Lahat po [ng gastusin] dito [sa tindahan] ko po talaga inaasahan (I rely on my sari-sari store for all of our expenses),” sari-sari store owner Eloisa Aguilar Singson said in a short feature video.
Singson is one of the beneficiaries from Quiapo, Manila whose sari-sari store was hit when the pandemic happened. She was selected as a beneficiary on August 31, 2021.
Before the pandemic, Singson’s eight-year-old store would earn P1,000 a day. However, lately, her store has been earning only around P500 to P600 daily – her family’s only source of income as her husband had to stop selling on the streets.
With the P3,500 from Cayetano and his group, she was able to replenish her store with everyday products like coffee, soft drinks, snacks, and toiletries, enabling her sari-sari store to earn more than P800 per day.
“‘Pag ako kumita sa munting sari-sari store ko, pinamimilan ko kaagad para maraming laman (Everytime my store earns well, I restock on items right away),” she said.
Local officials thanked Cayetano on behalf of their constituents who received additional capital.
“Malaking malaking tulong po ito sa kanila gawa po ng sila’y walang hanapbuhay, nagsara ng tindahan. Ngayon makakapag-umpisa na [sila] sa pagtitinda,” Enrico Espino, Chairman of Barangay Sta. Maria in Mabalacat, Pampanga said.
(This is a really big help to them since they are currently unemployed and their stores have closed down. Now they can start selling again.)
Christian Ong from the office of Bulacan 1st District Rep. Jose Antonio Sy-Alvarado, for his part, said the local government hopes the program will continue to help more sari-sari store owners all over the country.
“Nakita po namin y’ung malaking tulong niya dahil in my estimation over 500 na sari-sari stores na po ang natulungan dito sa 1st District of Bulacan alone,” Ong said.
(With over 500 sari-sari store beneficiaries in the 1st District of Bulacan alone, we saw how big the program’s potential to help is.)
Aside from the P3,500, Cayetano also aims to build a community of sari-sari store owners where the owners and wholesalers can link up to negotiate better prices and consequently lower the retail prices.