N. Ecija ‘plantita’ entrepreneur gets boost from Sampung Libong Pag-asa

Sampung Libong Pag-asa, a signature COVID-19 financial aid program by former House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, headed to Nampicuan, Nueva Ecija on Wednesday, where 25 solo parents each received P10,000 in cash aid.

One of the beneficiaries during the December 8 episode is solo parent Mary Grace Fernandez, a mother of two and the sole breadwinner of her family.

She works at an electric company as a billing officer, where she earns P500 per day. With her income, she supports her parents and her children’s daily needs.

Fernandez, however, was severely affected when transport services became scarce during the pandemic and she was forced to spend most of her salary on transportation to get to and from work.

Sa pamasahe pa lang, kulang na kulang na talaga yung pag-araw-araw namin. Sobrang hirap ng naidulot ng pandemic na ‘to talaga,” Fernandez shared in a video shown during the episode.

(If you account only for the money we spend on transport fares, our family’s daily income is simply not enough. This pandemic has given us a really tough time.)

Things started to improve for Fernandez and her family when her company started implementing a hybrid work schedule, with some days spent at the office while on other days she works at home. 

This gave her an opportunity to start her own ‘plantita’ gardening business where she sells homegrown plants, helping her earn an additional P300 to P500 per day.

Fernandez said she will use the P10,000 she received through Sampung Libong Pag-asa to buy more gardening tools, pots, and plants that she could sell so she could grow her business more.

Kay Senator Alan Peter Cayetano po, maraming maraming salamat po sa malaking tulong na galing sa inyo sampu ng inyong mga kasama at mga kaibigan na nagbigay po nitong halaga na ito,” Fernandez said.

Sana po ipagpatuloy niyo po yung mga ganitong gawain para mas marami pa po kayong matulugan na kagaya kong solo parent,” she added.

(To Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, thank you so much for this big help from you and your comrades and friends who made this cash aid possible. I hope you all continue to do this so that you could help many more solo parents like myself.)

During the episode, which was livestreamed on the former House Speaker’s official Facebook page, Cayetano said P10,000 in aid, a key component of the 10K Ayuda Bill that he authored, is “big enough” to help families start their own businesses, going beyond simply being a dole-out.

We want to show that (while) P10,000 is not super huge, hindi ito napakalaking amount, pero it’s big enough na ang konti niyong pangangailangan ay mapupunan, plus pwedeng magnegosyo ng maliit, so ang tawag po namin dyan hindi lang pantawid kundi pang-ahon talaga,” Cayetano said.

(We want to show that while P10,000 is not super huge, it’s not a big amount, but it’s big enough to cover some of your needs, plus start a small business, so we don’t call it as just a dole-out but a headstart for families.)

The Sampung Libong Pag-asa initiative started by the former House Speaker, his wife Taguig-Pateros 2nd District Rep. Maria Laarni Cayetano, and the Balik sa Tamang Serbisyo sa Kongreso legislative alliance, hands out P10,000 cash grants to families that have struggled to cope with the economic effects of the pandemic.

The program has now reached 14,323 beneficiaries as of December 6, 2021.

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