The office of Senator Alan Peter Cayetano joined hands with the Albay Provincial Government and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Region 5 to help more than a thousand Bicolano sari-sari store owners with their daily needs and enable them to expand their small businesses through the Sari-saring Pag-Asa Program (SSP).
In a province-wide handover from February 28 to March 2, 2023, Cayetano’s team gave assistance to at least 1,200 sari-sari store owners in various areas in Legazpi City and Tiwi, Albay. These events were done in coordination with local government officials and in partnership with DSWD through its Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situations (AICS) Program.
Under the SSP, which is Cayeteno’s flagship program for budding business owners, the store owners received help in the form of P3,500 in cash and a booklet explaining the program and giving tips on how they can grow their business.
Norma Villa, one of the beneficiaries from Legazpi City, thanked the senator for his generous help to expand her livelihood.
“Nahihirapan rin kaming may mga tindahan. Minsan, kulang talaga dahil mahal ang pamasahe, mag-aarkila ka pa ng tricycle, mahal pa yung mga bilihin kaya nahihirapan kami sa budget. Marami pang utang. Kaya salamat kay Senator Alan Cayetano sa binigay niya pong tulong pangkabuhayan,” Villa said during the assistance distribution at the Legazpi Expo Center on February 28.
Judith Orobia, a store owner from Guinobatan, Albay who was present at the Albay Astrodome on March 1, said the cash aid will help her continue her small business despite her situation.
“Dati po may tindahan akong sari-sari store pero nahinto ko po y’un dahil wala na po akong puhunan at t’saka namatayan po ako ng asawa at anak. Nakakatulong po ang Sari-saring Pag-asa sa mahihirap na katulad namin na kinukulang ng puhunan. May pandagdag na po kaming puhunan para tulong sa kabuhayan,” Orobia said.
Dominga Bonavente, a beneficiary from Tabaco City, Albay said, “Ang kaunting pinagkakakitaan ko po ay y’ung maliit kong tindahan. Kaya salamat po, makakadagdag na po ito. Thank you po, Senator Alan Cayetano. Sa aming mga mahihirap, malaking tulong na po ito. Salamat po talaga.”
Held in various areas in the province, the distribution of assistance was done with the help of Albay Governor Edcel “Grex” Lagman, Legazpi City Mayor Carmen Geraldine “Gie” Rosal, Councilor Joseph Philip Lee, and Tiwi Mayor Jaime Villanueva.
“Malaking tulong po ito para sa ating small businesses para lalo pong madagdagan ang kanilang kapital at lalo na po pandagdag sa kanilang mga negosyo. Thank you very much po Senator Alan from the city government,” Councilor Joseph Philip Lee said.