The Sari-Saring Pag-asa program inched its way closer to 6,000 beneficiaries nationwide on Saturday, November 13, with a total of 100 sari-sari store owners receiving P3,500 each, bringing the total of beneficiaries to 5,937.
Sixty of the beneficiaries were pre-selected from Laoag City in Ilocos Norte, Urbiztondo in Pangasinan, and San Fernando City in La Union. The other 40 beneficiaries were selected from Facebook livestream viewers from around the country.
Ilocos Norte 1st District Rep. Ria Farinas said she was grateful that some of her constituents in Laoag City were able to receive cash grants through the Sari-saring Pag-asa program.
“Talaga naman po dito marami ang ating kababayan na naapektuhan dahil sa pandemya, marami ang establishments na nagsara,” he said.
(Truly, a lot of our townspeople here have been affected by the pandemic, many businesses have shut down.)
Pangasinan 5th District Rep. Ramon Guico III, through his wife Maan Tuazon Guico, also thanked Cayetano for reaching out to small business owners in their district.
“Kasama po ang aking asawa na si Cong. Ramon Guico III, kami po ay nagpapasalamat kay former Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano sa kanyang programang Sari-Saring Pag-asa. Maraming-maraming salamat po ulit sa inyong programa at tulong para sa mga Pangasinense,” he said.
(Together with my husband Cong. Ramon Guico III, we thank former Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano for his Sari-Saring Pag-asa program. Thank you for helping our people here in Pangasinan.)
San Fernando City, La Union Vice Mayor Alfredo Pablo Ortega praised Cayetano’s Sari-Saring Pag-asa initiative for directly aiding sari-sari store owners in his city, adding that neighborhood stores have become an alternative source of income for many working-class families in his area who were affected by the pandemic.
“Napakaganda po nitong programa ni Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, itong Sari-Saring Pag-asa, dahil nga po ngayong pandemya, talagang ang pamilyang Pilipino po, marami po talaga ang nahihirapan, and karamihan po sa atin ay nawalan ng trabaho, nasa bahay lang po, and isa sa mga oportunidad na pagkakakitaan po ay ang sari-sari store,” he said.
(This program by Senator Alan Peter Cayetano is really good because now, amid the pandemic, where many Filipino families are truly struggling, many lost their jobs and were forced to stay at home, sari-sari stores have become opportunities for them to start anew.)
Among the featured beneficiaries in the Saturday episode was Pinky Castro, a sari-sari store-owner from Quezon City who received P3,500 in cash aid from the program’s September 2 run.
She said she would wake up very early in the morning everyday to cater to her customers, but her store’s income was still not enough.
With the help of the cash aid she received, Castro said she is now able to earn as much as P1,000 per week.
“Dati bumebenta ako nang kaunti lang kasi kaunti lang y’ung paninda ko eh. N’ung natanggap ko y’ung P3,500, y’un ang pinangdagdag ko ng puhunan kaya lumaki-laki na rin y’ung benta ko,” she said.
(Before, I only earned little because I only had a few things to sell. When I received the P3,500, I used it to buy items to sell and increased my earnings.)
She added that her increased income enabled her to save up in case of emergencies.
“Y’ung 10 percent tinatabi ko para kung halimbawang may kagipitan o emergency, may mabubunot akong pang-gastos o halimbawa pambili ko ng gamot,” she said.
(I save 10 percent of what I earn so that if there is an emergency, for example, I will be able to spend on additional expenses or buy medicine.)
Having been selected among the thousands of Filipinos who left their comments on the Sari-Saring Pag-asa livestream, Castro is extremely grateful.
“Kaunting tiyaga lang sa pagtitinda. Kailangan masipag ka din, tapos matiyaga ka lang talagang magbantay at makisama,” she said, addressing her fellow sari-sari store owners.
(Be a bit more persevering when selling. You also have to be diligent, and really patient with your customers and tending your store.)
The Sari-Saring Pag-asa program provides P3,500 each to struggling sari-sari store owners pre-selected from across the country. It aims to help the owners replenish their store’s supplies and increase their income amid the pandemic.