With COVID-19 forcing 22.2% of the total number of establishments in the food industry to close, employment in the Accommodation and Food Service Industry has decreased by 35.8%, according to the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
As a result, chefs, waiters, service crews, food court bussers, dishwashers, cashiers, and even restaurant owners have become displaced and are looking for other ways to support their families.
One of them is Jazenne Olano, a former service crew member from Pasay City who lost her job due to the series of lockdowns in Metro Manila.
But what could have been a recipe for despair turned to hope when she was chosen as a beneficiary of P10,000 in financial assistance courtesy of former House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and his allies on August 13, 2021.
“Noong natanggap ko y’ung 10K Ayuda galing kay Former Speaker Alan Cayetano, y’ung kalahati, y’ung 5K, ibinigay ko sa family ko pangtulong sa gastusin sa bahay at pangangailangan nila sa gamot ng parents ko,” Olano said in a video shown on the Sampung Libong Pag-asa program on Monday, September 6, 2021.
(When I received the P10,000 Aid from Former Speaker Alan Cayetano, half of it, the P5,000, I gave to my family to help with household expenses and their needs for my parents’ medicine.)
She was able to use the remaining P5,000 to invest in a small online business reselling bangus, from which she can now earn up to P300 a day.
Her profit of almost P2,000 a week allows her and her family to buy their daily necessities.
Launched on May 1, the Sampung Libong Pag-Asa program gives P10,000 in financial assistance to select individuals affected by the pandemic.
On Monday, 30 food industry workers were chosen to receive the financial assistance. An additional 20 were selected from the comments section of the Facebook live feed of the program.
This brings the total number of beneficiaries to 9,937 as of September 6, 2021.
Cayetano spearheaded the initiative in order to campaign for the inclusion of the P10,000 financial aid provision under the Bayanihan 3.
“Bakit sampung libo? Kasi ayaw natin ng pantawid lang, gusto natin ng pang-ahon…” Cayetano said during Monday’s program. “Napakaimportante na may matira, hindi lang sa araw-araw na pangangailangan, pero sa negosyo nila.”
(Why are we pushing for the distribution of P10,000? Because we want people not just to survive but to recover. It’s important that they have something left from the amount so they can start their own businesses.)
He said the financial aid distributed by the program is designed to help individuals and families rise above the difficult circumstances they are facing because of the pandemic.
At the same time, Cayetano stressed the importance of crafting a five-year economic recovery plan in order to recover from and adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic.###